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USA: SJB hopes charging stations jolt tourism

After Hollister rejected electric vehicle stations, Mission City set to plug in

A few weeks after the Hollister City Council unanimously pulled the plug on a proposed electric vehicle charging station – citing uncertainty over revenue and upkeep costs – the City of San Juan is on the verge of accepting a five-year contract in the hope it will encourage tourism in the Mission City.

The Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments, which includes San Benito, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, is using a $25,000 grant from the Monterey Bay Regional Air Pollution Control District to install at least one public charging station in each county. Carmel’s station opened Oct. 5 and others are planned in Salinas and Watsonville.

“It’s a service to the community,” said Roger Grimsley, San Juan’s interim city manager. “The community can advertise this as a vehicle to support tourism, as we’ll have a place where electric vehicles can be charged.”

The city still has to formally accept the proposal with AMBAG, but that is expected to be a formality.

“A couple of weeks ago we reviewed several sites in the city and have zeroed in on an area near Abbe Park,” just west of downtown, Grimsley said. “We have electrical power there. It’ll be a good location.”

San Juan officials plan to meet with the city’s Chamber of Commerce to erect signs directing electric vehicle users to the station. The city will not be charged a $20 monthly fee for the first year of the pilot project, as that is subsidized by the grant. The $240-per-year cost kicks in during the second year of the five-year agreement.

The city will also be charged for the electricity used by the vehicles that hook up to the charging station, which will be equipped with a credit card swiping mechanism so the city can charge what Grimsley said will be a “reasonable fee” to offset the city’s cost.
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