Electric Vehicle Fast Chargers Coming to the North Coast

Electric vehicle drivers will soon have access to fast chargers for travel on Highway 101 throughout the North Coast to the Oregon border. Funded by grants from the California Energy Commission, the new charging sites will expand the infrastructure network and extend the range of EVs.

ChargePoint has partnered with Mendocino Council of Governments and the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, the regional agencies that have been advancing plans for EV readiness, to win two of the statewide grants for the North Coast.

ChargePoint brings with it partners such as Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Grant Farm. The total of grants with cash and in-kind match contributions brings more than $2.7 million of investment into the regions.

The network will include a total of six locations in Humboldt and Del Norte counties, three locations in Mendocino County and two in northern Sonoma County, with the longest gap at 57 miles.

Potential sites were evaluated and ranked based on convenience, accessibility, proximity to services and distance from other planned sites. Currently planned locations include: Smith River, Crescent City, Klamath, Arcata, Loleta, Garberville, Leggett, Laytonville, Willits, Cloverdale and Healdsburg. Station installation is expected to start in 2017 and be completed in late 2018.

Each site will initially include up to two 62.5-kilowatt DC Fast Charging Stations, providing an 80 percent charge in 20 to 30 minutes for most electric vehicles.

Sites will also provide Level-2 ports for EVs that are not DC compatible.

Each fast charger will be equipped with the two most common fast charging connectors, compatible with the vast majority of EVs. Tesla cars can use an adapter to access the new stations.

“We are delighted to join ChargePoint and RCEA in creating this network,” said Janet Orth, MCOG deputy director, who led MCOG’s EV planning effort.

“This investment will go a long way toward realizing our community’s vision and plans for a public network of plug-in electric vehicle chargers serving Mendocino County locals and visitors. We thank the California Energy Commission and our partners for their leadership and a great opportunity.”

“Fast chargers are a much-anticipated step in our growing network of electric vehicle charging stations,” said Dana Boudreau, RCEA operations director.

“While our initial installations focused on the daily requirements of local drivers, fast chargers allow locals to travel farther and refuel faster. They also support electric vehicle drivers who are visiting or just passing through our region. Once the fast chargers are in place, electric vehicles with quick-charge ports can feasibly travel the north coast region from San Francisco into Oregon.”

“Our mission is to help get every driver behind the wheel of an EV by providing a seamless charging experience wherever they need to charge — at home, work, in town and on the road,” said Rich Quattrini, senior director, Business Development, ChargePoint, Inc. “These new fast charge locations, combined with our growing network in California and around the country, is yet another step in helping to make driving electric a reality for more residents throughout Northern California.”

MCOG, as the Regional Transportation Planning Agency, produced a Mendocino County Zero Emission Vehicle Regional Readiness Plan in 2012, followed by a feasibility study in 2015, that engaged stakeholders and the general public in identifying locations for a potential countywide public network of electric vehicle charging stations.

In 1996, MCOG began testing and demonstrating plug-in EVs in the rural environment, building on work in the community to advance renewable energy.

RCEA is a leading regional supporter of sustainable and alternative transportation, supporting EV charging infrastructure and EV readiness planning, as well as alternative fuels, zero-emission vehicles, and fuel-cell vehicles, through advanced planning, research and infrastructure deployment. RCEA operates a network of 14 public charging stations throughout Humboldt County, providing a locally-controlled, affordable, and economically sustainable network of charging stations in the region.

Electric Vehicle Fast Chargers Coming to the North CoastUkiah Daily Journal, March 28, 2017.

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