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Move To Install Charging Stations Still Not Charging Ahead

"Parking problems" are standing in the way of installing electric car charging stations in San Diego County.

— Two years ago, we heard that San Diego County would be on the receiving end of a large federal grant to install up to 1,500 electric car charging stations for vehicle owners to use.

But the process of installing them has fallen at least a year behind schedule, and electric car drivers are being asked to be patient.

The EV Project is being run by a San Francisco-based company called Ecotality, which is managing a U.S. Department of Energy grant to install charging stations in many American cities, including San Diego.

The number of charging stations for San Diego has lately dropped to a more modest goal of 1,000, which were supposed to be completely installed by the end of 2011. But so far, Ecotality has only managed to create 220.

Andy Hoskinson, San Diego's regional manager for Ecotality's EV Project, said the problem is not enough local businesses want to give up parking spaces to make way for charging stations.

"What that results in is little real estate on which to install electric vehicle charging stations, which rely on existing parking situations," said Hoskinson.

Ecotality is negotiating with the city of San Diego to put some charge stations in public rights of way. Hoskinson said about 300 new charging stations are either under construction or are soon to be built.

He hopes they can meet their 1,000-station goal by the end of this year.

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