Electric Cars Aren’t Just a Big-City Thing. That’s What Put a Charge into This Rural Project

Thirteen free-to-use charging stations for electric vehicles have opened in Fresno County’s rural cities.

Every incorporated city in the county now has a place to charge a car. The latest launch didn’t happen in Fresno or Clovis, both of which already have charging sites.

The new chargers are fueled by photovoltaic solar cells, which are designed to make the devices emissions-free. And, to repeat, there is no charge to use them.

The communities that received charging access: Fowler, Selma, Kingsburg, Reedley, San Joaquin, Kerman, Coalinga, Huron, Parlier, Orange Cove, Mendota, Firebaugh and Sanger. All the stations are at city halls except Fowler’s, which is outside the library, Kerman’s at the city’s Community Center, and Kingsburg’s, which is atht library.

The cost of the project was $800,000. Valley Air District provided $78,000 through the Charge Up! Program, which is funded through local DMV fees. Fresno County Rural Transit Agency paid the remaining balance with a Caltrans grant.

The Valley is one of the fastest growing regions of the state for sales of electric vehicles, said John Boesel, chief executive officer for CALSTART, a clean transportation technology industry organization.

“It’s the first rural county in the nation to develop a network of solar-powered electric-vehicle chargers,” he said.

Boesel said demand for the chargers in rural communities already exists: “Before today’s event, people were pulling up to power their cars.”

The project is a cooperative effort of CALSTART, Valley Air District, Fresno County Rural Transit Agency, the California Energy Commission, Caltrans and Envision Solar.

Electric Cars Aren’t Just a Big-City Thing. That’s What Put a Charge into This Rural Project, by Marc Benjamin, The Fresno Bee, May 24, 2017.

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