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USA: Could electric-vehicle ownership in Los Altos generate the green?

This is Part 2 in a two-part series examining the local impact of electric vehicles.

Although it’s gratifying to do good, when you can make green by being green, it may be even better. Extolling the economic benefits of electric vehicles, stakeholders are promoting Los Altos and Los Altos Hills as hubs for zero-emissions traffic.

“It’s good for business and good for the city,” said Los Altos Hills City Councilman Rich Larsen, citing proximity to Interstate 280 and the current lack of available charging stations as opportunities to capitalize on the growing electric-vehicle market.

The Los Altos City Council Feb. 12 voted to install three charging stations in the city, courtesy of a grant. Although the profit potential on the proposed charging equipment is minimal, such infrastructure allows the city to capitalize on peripheral benefits.

“I have heard EV drivers talk about how certain cities are destinations for them. … They plan their trips based on where they will recharge and where there’s something to do while they are recharging,” said Los Altos City Councilwoman Jan Pepper.

Charging forward

Los Altos is ideally positioned to respond to the growing demand for public charging equipment. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District estimates that the region boasts 700 public charging stations, with another 1,000 to 2,000 needed by 2015 to fulfill demand.

According to Los Altos Senior Planner Zach Dahl, the city is incorporating initiatives that encourage “forward thinking” commercial electric-vehicle stewardship.
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