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Owners of electric vehicle charged up over blocked stations – San Jose Mercury News

Sales of hybrid and all-electric vehicles are expected to climb this year, with predicting they will grab 14 percent of the 2013 automotive market. Virtually every car manufacturer has at least one hybrid or EV model for sale, and Toyota has four in the Prius family. Indeed, says Prius has hit the big time–it is now the third top selling vehicle in the world.
But people still worry about how far they can drive on a charge and if charging stations are near enough when they need to “fill up.” It is particularly worrisome to EV owners who don’t have the option of switching over to gasoline as hybrid owners do.
Los Gatos has four charging station locations: the Elm Street and Grays Lane parking lots, next to the library at the civic center and near the post office on N. Santa Cruz Avenue.
New data indicates their use is increasing significantly. An analysis of the data provided by the town shows the stations generated 458 kilowatt hours of usage in June 2012, climbing to a high of 1,148 kWh in October and remaining pretty steady at 1,136 kWh in November and 1,138 kWh in December.
It costs $2.50 per use to plug into a Los Gatos charging station.
Couple increased charging station usage with the predicted increase in vehicle sales, and you have a

recipe for yet another parking controversy in Los Gatos. That’s because Los Gatos’ charging stations are not exclusive–internal combustion engine vehicles, known by the industry acronym ICE, can park in those spots, too. The town council purposely structured it that way because members did not want to reduce the number of parking spaces available to all vehicles in town.
Enter Bryan Mekechuk, who plans to ask the council to put the issue on a future meeting agenda. He owns a Nissan Leaf EV, and until recently, he would bring the car to town to charge because his home did not have the appropriate plug-in. Mekechuk’s wife, Jo-Anne, regularly uses the Leaf to get to work in Sunnyvale.



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