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New Juice: Berkeley Whole Foods offers electric car charging stations

One of Berkeley’s busiest intersections gained two electric vehicle chargers, which were installed in the Whole Foods parking lot at Ashby and Telegraph avenues.

The chargers — one of them is a DC fast-charging station — are part of a Berkeley pilot program designed to encourage businesses to install power sites that allow motorists to charge up electric cars. About 350 electric vehicles are registered to people and businesses in the city. That number has increased 70 percent in six months, according to the city.

Berkeley has a couple of public charging stations in its Center Street Garage downtown, but they’re only available between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Drivers must pay parking fees while parked and charging, although the charge itself is free for now. Two new public chargers will make it easier to use electric cars in the city. The new fast charger can add 40 miles to a vehicle’s range in about 10 minutes.

If they don’t find a charger in Berkeley, drivers can go to Emeryville, where they can charge at Ikea and in the Public Market or across I-80 at 2000 Powell Street. The nearest charger in Oakland is in the Temescal neighborhood, at the Walgreens at 51st and Telegraph.


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