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Lodi City Council approves charging stations for electric vehicles

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Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013 12:00 am

Lodi is on the cutting edge, and this time, it has nothing to do with wine. The Lodi City Council approved a resolution to designate seven public parking stalls around town only for charging electric vehicles as part of an ongoing project to make Lodi EV friendly. Anyone else parking there will be towed.

Rob Lechner, programs manager for the Lodi Electric Utility, says this step keeps Lodi in the forefront of cities encouraging more electric vehicle use.

The stalls are in public parking lots around the city. The charging heads were first installed in April with grant money from the California Energy Commission. By this fall, the heads will be retrofitted at a cost of $650 each to accept credit cards as payment for charging.

Until then, it’s free for anyone to charge up their car. The prices will run about $1.50 to $2 an hour to charge, which is about half the cost of gasoline to drive the same distance.

Before that, Lechner wants to make sure the stalls will be used only for their intended purpose and not for normal parking.

Once the stage two chargers installed, it will take about four hours to fully recharge an electric car battery. When the battery is full, the car will have to move. If a car is parked in one of these stalls and isn’t charging up, they’ll be towed.

Lechner said the few other Central Valley cities that have public charging stations require payment.

“We’re out in front on this and being watched by many other municipalities, in a good way,” he said.

If it weren’t for the city owning the Lodi Electric Utility, the odds of bringing in a program like this would be much smaller, Mayor Alan Nakanishi said.

The fact that Lodi is on the cutting edge with electric cars came as a surprise to Councilwoman JoAnne Mounce.

“Congratulations on being in a position that we can be a leader in this,” she said.

The charging stalls are located near the Lodi Public Library on Locust Street, the Finance Department building on Elm Street, City Hall on Pine Street, Hutchins Street Square on Walnut Street, the parking garage in Downtown and outside the Lodi Animal Shelter on Kettleman Lane.

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com.

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