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Proposed EV charging station to open in summer

ENCINITAS — A proposed “gas station” for electric vehicles in Encinitas should be up and running by late summer, city officials said.

The electric vehicle charging station, which is being built on City Hall’s lower parking lot, was slated to open in late spring, but was delayed two months because of a delay in the granting of a time extension of a crucial grant.
The charging station was first proposed in 2013, and in 2014 the Department of Energy awarded Corridor Power a $500,000 grant for the project. It received a time extension in fall 2016, as the winter 2016 deadline to complete the project was rapidly approaching.
But Corridor Power needed another extension, but a change in state controllers set back the timeline for the extension, city spokeswoman Lois Yum said in an email.
“The budget amendment for a grant extension and re-allocating the line-item budget with the California Energy Commission took a while with a new Controller in place,” Yum wrote.
Yum also said that Corridor changed the design to accommodate a new battery storage plan.
“Battery technology also has changed since our applicant filed his application with the City about four years ago,” Yum wrote. “Instead of a single battery storage structure, the new technology is like a series of bollards that have more flexible locational requirements, and a larger storage capacity. The prior plan was to house the battery bank in a structure, but the new technology is outdoor and has a smaller profile.”
Yum said Corridor will likely receive approval for its final building permits in June, with a modular building going up the following month. A soft opening is expected by August, and the ribbon cutting is tentatively scheduled for September.
The proposal consists of shade canopies, 10 EV charging towers and a 480-square-foot driver’s lounge and retail store within the lower city-owned parking lot on the northeast corner of Vulcan Avenue and E Street.
City officials see the charging station as a key piece of its recently adopted climate action plan by promoting alternative fuel and environmentally friendly modes of transportation. Meanwhile, the city has used the lower parking lot as a location for portable bathrooms and a hand-washing station as part of the city’s efforts to combat the spread of Hepatitis A.