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Tucson’s gets first public ‘fast charger’ for electric cars

Local electric-car owners got a boost recently with the installation of the Tucson area’s first public “fast-charging” system at Bookmans Sports Exchange.

The so-called Level 3 DC charger, installed by Mesa-based GOe3, is powered partly by a large solar energy array at the store, 3330 E. Speedway.

The system can fully charge electric vehicles with compatible plug-ins in as little as 20 minutes, compared with four to six hours for a Level 2 charger. The installation also features Level 2 charging at a higher amperage than standard Level 2 chargers used in other public and home setups, GOe3 says.

Bookmans owner Bob Oldfather, a longtime supporter of electric vehicles, started installing EV chargers at his stores a few years ago because he felt it was the right thing to do. Besides the Sports Exchange, the company offers free Level 2 charging at its three other Tucson stores and its single stores in Phoenix, Mesa and Flagstaff.

“I think electric vehicles are the future,” said Oldfather, a collector of vintage electrics who acknowleged that the “green” publicity doesn’t hurt.

Charging at the Bookmans will be free until Oct. 1 and then will cost $5 to fully fast-charge EVs using a Japanese standard plug like those used by the Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, GOe3 CEO Bruce Brimacombe said. Level 2 charging will remain free, as it is at Bookmans other locations.
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