January 3, 2013

L.A. Metro to open electric vehicle charging stations

Electric vehicle (EV) drivers will soon be able to charge their vehicles for a nominal fee at five Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) park and ride stations.

Union Station, Sierra Madre Villa Station, Willow Station, El Segundo Station and Universal City Station will have facilities to charge up to four vehicles at a time. The first two locations, Union Station and Sierra Madre Villa Station, will open to the public in early January 2013. All stations will be open by mid-February 2013.

Metro anticipates that the EV charging stations will encourage EV owners to combine public transportation with driving. EV drivers will be able to charge their vehicles while using Metro to run errands, go to events or while commuting the rest of the way to work.

EV drivers need to subscribe online at metro.net/ev to use the charging stations. Once they open an account linked to either a credit card or a PayPal account, they will receive an electronic key fob. To start a charging session, plug in the EV to a vacant EV charger and wave the key fob over the reader. The cost to charge a vehicle is $1 per hour and caps at $3. EV drivers will receive a text notification when the vehicle battery is fully charged. Customer support also is available by calling 213-922-GOEV.

The installation of the EV charging stations is part of a pilot program scheduled to run through 2013. The program marks the first time a transportation agency has directly incorporated EV charging stations as part of its transit system. Metro is collaborating with EV Connect to install and operate the charging stations. The program is funded by a grant from the California Energy Commission.

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