Electric vehicles (EVs) are growing in popularity, and for good reason. From environmental stewardship to total cost of ownership, it’s no surprise their sales have risen so dramatically in recent years.
“I do believe that encouraging more electric vehicles can have a positive impact on the environment,” said Oakley City Manager Bryan Montgomery. “New building codes require a certain number of parking spaces at a facility. Even new gas stations will have spaces for EVs. More of these will be on their way here in Oakley and throughout the area.”
Advocacy group Plug-In America cites numerous benefits of electric vehicles, compared to their traditional, gas-powered counterparts.
• No emissions: EVs have no tailpipes and, therefore, no emissions, which improves air quality. Consider the impact this makes in a state like California — especially in a region like the Bay Area where traffic is heavy and cars are abundant.
• Environmental stewardship: EVs powered by the grid currently produce 54% less lifetime carbon pollution than gasoline cars, which could grow to 71% by 2050 as power supply gets cleaner.
• Affordability: On average, fueling an EV is roughly the same as fueling with gasoline that costs $1 per gallon, due to performance efficiency and the lower electricity cost. Electricity prices are also more stable than gasoline prices.
• Convenience: EVs never require a trip to the gas station, tune-ups, transmission repairs, spark plugs or oil changes. There’s no engine, transmission, spark plugs, valves, fuel tank, tailpipe, distributor, starter, clutch, muffler or catalytic converter. There are a lot fewer things to break down, so maintenance costs are much lower.
Most day-to-day charging of an EV is done at the convenience of the drivers’ own homes. However, when drivers are out and about and in need of a charge, there are multiple locations to choose from in East County.
“We’re glad to have a number of charging stations,” said City of Brentwood Assistant City Manager Terrence Grindall. “We’re glad Brentwood is a leader, and it really helps our visitors as well.”
Currently, most local public charging stations are run by a few different owners.
ChargePoint describes itself as the largest online network of independently owned EV charging stations, and its cards are free. Users submit credit card information as part of the sign up, and they are charged an initial $25 deposit only when first visiting a charging station that requires a fee.
The account provides access to all public stations, with charging activated with the ChargePoint card or a contactless credit card. The stations can also be activated by calling a toll-free customer service number on the ChargePoint station, or by using the mobile app at www.chargepoint.com/drivers/mobile. Costs per charge vary, because prices are determined by property owners, but many stations are free.
East County charging stations can be found at 100 City Park Way and 8800 Brentwood Blvd. in Brentwood, and at 5829-D Slatten Ranch Road, 3901 Lone Tree Way and 200 H St. in Antioch. A map of additional locations is available in the ChargePoint mobile app. For more information on ChargePoint, visit www.chargepoint.com.
Blink is among the largest owners and operators of electric charging stations in the U.S., and is headquartered in Florida, with offices in California and Arizona. To access its stations, register a credit card with a Blink account at www.bit.ly/blink_network. There are no membership fees or minimum balance requirements. Registered members will receive an InCard and can initiate charges. Guests can also activate charging with Blink’s mobile app at www.blinkcharging.com/blink-mobile-app.
California permits kilowatt-hour (kWh) pricing, and fees for Level 2 EV charging stations owned by Blink and operated on its network range from 39 cents to 79 cents per kWh — depending on the state and individual’s membership status. Fees for fast-charging chargers operated on its network in eligible states range from 49 cents to 69 cents per kWh, depending on the state and individual’s membership status.
Blink locations in East County include: 2351 Balfour Road in Brentwood; 914 Main St. in Oakley; and 3450 Deer Valley Road, 4440 Lone Tree Way and 2424 Mahogany Way in Antioch. For a map of additional locations, visit www.blinkcharging.com/blink-map. For more information about Blink, visit www.blinkcharging.com.
EVgo is a subsidiary of NRG, one of the country’s largest power-generation and retail electricity businesses. EVgo manages the BMW ChargeNow program and Nissan’s No Charge to Charge offering. NRG’s network is only available to monthly subscribers using an EVgo card, but its website states the company will always take care of an EV driver in need of a charge.
There are no setup, termination or session fees. All Level 2 charging costs $1.50 per hour. For quick charging, the pay-as-you-go plan costs 20 cents per minute. For those who purchase an EVgo membership — which costs $9.99 per month — the cost is 15 cents per minute.
East County EVgo locations can be found at 2400 Sand Creek Road in Brentwood, and 4893 Lone Tree Way in Antioch.
Tesla Motors offers its own charging network to serve Model S, Model X and Model 3 owners. Tesla Superchargers are standalone sites, though the company has also established charging sites they call “destinations,” managed in partnerships with hospitality, retail and workplace entities.
Tesla Superchargers do not require a card to initiate. Owners drive up and plug in.
As of Jan. 1, 2017, anyone who orders a Tesla will get 400 kWh of free supercharging credits per year, good for about 1,000 miles. Tesla has not said how much it will cost after that limit. Owners who ordered their car in 2016 or earlier, excluding those who own the Model 3, will still charge free for life.
East County locations include 5769 Lone Tree Way in Antioch, and 6700 Balfour Road in Brentwood. Additional locations are searchable at www.bit.ly/tesla_map. For more information on Tesla chargers, visit www.tesla.com/supercharger.
For information on federal, state and local incentives that may apply to the purchase of electric vehicles, see www.bit.ly/ev_incentives.
Plug-In America contributed to this story.