City announces sites for electric vehicle charging stations

October 14, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 8 a.m. Oct. 14, 2010

The city plans to install a pair of charging stations at City Hall Northwest soon, as part of a regional push to create a network of charging stops to juice up electric vehicles.

The stations lay the groundwork for all-electric vehicles to be used in commuter vanpools traveling to and from Issaquah.

City staffers and other commuters plan to use the King County Metro Transit vanpools. The transit agency is due to provide the vehicles by the early next year.

The effort is funded through a U.S. Department of Energy petroleum-reduction grant. The agency awarded the grant to the Puget Sound Clean Cities Coalition; Issaquah is a coalition member.

The city announced the program Wednesday, less than a month after County Executive Dow Constantine outlined a plan to add more than 120 charging stations across the region.

In addition to the City Hall Northwest stations, Issaquah is in line to receive up to 12 stations at the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride. The highlands stations should come online next year.

“This is great timing, as the nation’s first commercially-available electric vehicles will be hitting the market soon,” Mayor Ava Frisinger said in a news release. “We’re excited to make electric vehicles more accessible — both to our staff and the general public.”

The first all-electric car from a major auto manufacturer — the Nissan Leaf — should roll onto dealership lots in December.

In addition to the City Hall Northwest project, Issaquah could add up to 10 more charging stations if the city can secure funding. Other sites under consideration include zHome — the eco-friendly townhouse development under construction in the highlands — and Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72, another “green” project under construction next to the Issaquah Transit Center.

City Council members paved the way for the additions in August, by adding electric vehicle language to the city code and allowing charging stations throughout the city.

Meanwhile, planners continue to develop a city ordinance related to a citywide electric-vehicle network.

“This ordinance will help us define signage, right of way, parking and other issues related to these new charging stations,” Frisinger said. “To help us with this process, we have also been working very closely with electric vehicle companies to better understand this evolving technology.”

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