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USA: Electric Car Charging Stations Coming To Long Beach In 2013

Motor Trend’s Car of the Year was the all-electric Tessla Model S sedan. This was the first time in the magazine’s 64-year history that a car won that does not have an internal combustion engine.

Less than a week after that announcement, the Long Beach City Council has struck a deal with the company ECOtality North America to install electric vehicle charging stations at city-owned parking lots and facilities all across the city.

The city sent out an RFP (request for proposal) in March of this year, looking to enter into a no-cost contract for electric vehicle charging stations — all the financial burden falls on the company installing and maintaining the units.

“There definitely has been some user demand,” said Sarah Price, projects coordinator for the Public Works Department. “People have called looking for something to plug into downtown. We saw the private market hadn’t been going fast enough, so we thought this was a good time for the city to promote this activity.”

The other shoe that needed to drop was for the industry to standardize the plug-in technology across models and companies — which also happened recently.

“There’s finally one charge to serve everyone’s needs,” Price said.

The contract allows for 12 charging stations. So far locations have been chosen at the Long Beach Convention Center, Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach Airport, Queen Mary, City Place Parking Structure and near the intersection of Long Beach Boulevard and Market Street. Other locations will be announced as they are planned for, officials said.

“We think that Long Beach is a good opportunity because it is a location a lot of people use,” said Scott LaBass, Los Angeles sale manager for ECOtality. “There is a lot of traffic that comes through and many destination spots within the city. There is a growing population of electric vehicles, so by putting these charging stations up, we expect them to get used.”

ECOtality was founded (originally as ETech) in 1989, said LaBass, and the company has been involved in just about every electric vehicle charging-type infrastructure since then.


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