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Charging Stations For Electric Cars Unveiled In Balboa Park

Balboa Park is the proud new host of 10 electric-vehicle charging stations. The stations are the result of a year-long collaboration between the firm ECOtality and the City of San Diego, SDG&E, and others.

Mayor Jerry Sanders said San Diego is taking a leadership role in adopting electric vehicles.

Nissan Leafs charge at Balboa Park's station.
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Above: Nissan Leafs charge at Balboa Park's station.

"Once we have a basic infrastructure in place this fall, San Diego will become the testing place for EVs," Sanders said. "We'll learn from drivers how we can improve the system and ultimately San Diego will serve as a model for other cities not only nationwide but worldwide."

ECOtality plans to install one thousand charging stations throughout San Diego by the end of the year.

It's free to charge your car in Balboa Park for the next month and a half, and will cost about $2.50 an hour after that. (The Park's Reuben H Fleet Science Center also hopes to add an electric vehicle exhibit soon.)

Electric car owners like Encinitas Deputy Mayor Jerome Stocks said they appreciate the convenience of charging stations away from home.

"Twelve-hundred miles roughly a month, and so far the bill hasn't exceeded $35 a month," Stocks, said. "So I'm liking the economies of this vehicle quite a bit. And that doesn't count the nice feeling that when you are sitting in traffic you actually know you are not contributing to the air pollution."

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Avatar for user 'terramater'

terramater | June 16, 2011 at 8:22 p.m. ― 5 years, 7 months ago

If the $2.50 per hour cost is for a quick charge station (480 V; about 20 minutes to go from empty to 80 miles of charge), than that's economical! However, if this is the cost for a level 2 charger (240 V; about 7 hours from empty to full), than $2.50 is pretty steep cost ($17 for about 100 miles of charge).

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Avatar for user 'drdonna'

drdonna | June 17, 2011 at 2:50 p.m. ― 5 years, 7 months ago

I just used the Blink charger at Balboa, but only after calling ECOtotality and begging for someone to help me get access. Which they did within about 30 minutes...while I was walking around the THANK YOU ECOtotality field agent!

Why did I need assistance? No one thought it was important enough to note that one needs a BLINK access card to use the chargers, even during this free introductory phase. The need for an access card was news to another LEAF owner that pulled up as I was leaving. He decided to leave rather than wait for a field agent...

Another obstacle: All 3 BLINK parking spots near Fleet Science Center were occupied with non-EV's since there's no indication that the spots are for EV's only. At least no non-EV's were parked in any of the 7 spots near the Air and Space Museum. But, I'm not sure how long that will last if there's no indication that the spots are for EV's only.

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Avatar for user 'EduardoEsteban'

EduardoEsteban | June 20, 2011 at 11 p.m. ― 5 years, 7 months ago

I second drdonna's comment. The chargers in front of the Aerospace Museum were just off today (no lit up screens, at least), unlike the ones by the Science Center, which all had their screens on. Someone at BLINK said they'd come by to fix it, but after around four hours, the chargers were still off. Along with the non-EV people taking up the EV spaces, it was pretty frustrating trying to use them.

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Avatar for user 'drdonna'

drdonna | June 22, 2011 at 9:21 a.m. ― 5 years, 7 months ago

I had forgotten I ordered a BLINK access card (RFID card) in May; I forgot because I never received one. As of today, my request from May is still pending, as are the re-request I made on June 17.

BLINK Network Support response to my inquiry: "Currently the only way to receive an RFID card is through the website. I do know that there is a waiting list to receive the RFID cards at this time. If you sign up (or possibly already have access) with there is a link within the membership site in which you can request an RFID card. Please let us know if you need further assistance processing this request." 6/20/2011

Word from ECOtotality is that the EV spots will eventually be fitted with signage "EV parking only" to restrict non-EV vehicles. City Enforcement is a remaining question...

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