Edmonds charging stations reach energy-saving milestone

EV GHG Graph

In late 2011, the City of Edmonds completed the installation of six public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. These stations were obtained at no cost to the city because of a federal grant provided to Coulomb Industries through the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act . As a condition of the grant, Coulomb gave these stations to qualified organizations, which then installed and activated them.

As demonstrated by the accompanying chart, the energy provided by these EV charging stations since their launch passed a significant milestone during this year. In August, the cumulative avoided production of greenhouse gases attributable to the use of these six stations surpassed a metric ton (2204.6 lbs). The ciity expects the savings of emissions to continue growth as electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids become more common.

Edmonds remains committed to its role in providing the infrastructure to enable this transition to cleaner driving, said Jim Stevens, the city’s facilities maintenance manager, who submitted this information to My Edmonds News.

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6 Comments

  1. I’m curious what saving a “metric ton” really means. I suspect this is an incredibly small drop in the bucket compared to the amount of greenhouse emissions spewed into the air every day from vehicles here in Edmonds. Yes, this may be progress, but I am curious how significant saving a “metric ton” really is, and, really, how much did the government spend (my money and yours) for these charging machines and how much energy did it take to build, transport and install them in our city? It’s like some guy bragging about his $2,000 jackpot at the casino, without telling you he pumped in $10,000 worth of silver dollars to get it. I’m all for electric and hybrid vehicles, but this “energy saved” statistic is incomplete and therefore meaningless. I walk or drive by a few of these charging stations almost every day and hardly ever see them being used.

  2. agreed, Chuck

    further – “clean, green” is code for moving the pollution – elsewhere in the world!

  3. Just be negative Chuck – each day that passes is one less you will enjoy… and please don’t start a diatribe (tirade or rant) about liberal this or that.

    • Frank, I asked a reasonable question. The article was incomplete without the “saving of greenhouse gases” figure put in perspective.

  4. When it comes to sensitive issues it IS IMPORTANT to have all the facts. I think the original question is worthy of an answer. While the charging stations were “free” their were costs to install the systems. Now that they are in place there is a revenue stream from the users. I have searched the city web site and not been able to find what it cost to install and any revenue from their use. Getting facts in my mind is not diatribe or rant or whatever, just trying to think logically and gather facts.

  5. I appreciate the thoughtful questions and hope to provide satisfactory answers for all here. The six stations were installed using City employees who were already being paid, so there were no increased costs incurred from labor. There were indeed expenses associated with materials and permits for each area of installation. The great majority of these costs, approximately $7500, were for the two stations at 6th and Main. It turns out that this expense also provided the electrical service now feeding the decorative LED street lamps that illuminate the new sidewalks between 5th and 6th on Main. So, this is something that would have been required for the Main Street Improvements that were completed last year, and the City leveraged the charging station work to avoid additional costs that would have otherwise been incurred in the Main Street contract.

    Currently the City charges $2 per hour for the use of these public stations. From the beginning, the total gross revenue from the stations has been a little more than $2,000. This revenue has been trending upward since installation as the stations are used more often. Naturally, the electricity supplied is included in what the City pays for utility consumption to the PUD, and there are also some costs associated with the collection of payment from users and the wireless connections to the charging network we use, so this is not the same number as the net revenue. However, the City did not install the stations with the expectation that they would necessarily be profitable in the short run. As electric vehicles become more common, station usage will continue to increase and the bottom line will grow. There is a “chicken and egg” issue here as well. For electric vehicle usage to grow rapidly the charging infrastructure needs to be available. That is why a federal grant of approximately $40,000 (100% of the charging stations themselves) was available.

    It is true that saving a metric ton of CO2, which is a good deal more than I can lift at once, is insignificant when compared to the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) elsewise produced during the same period by all the vehicles driving in Edmonds. I think the adage about the longest journey beginning with a single step is apropos here. If we never take measures to reduce the production of GHG because we can only do something initially small, we bypass the opportunity to make any difference. The tag line from the movie “Field of Dreams” is also good to consider here. If instead Edmonds says, “If they come we will build it,” and I am an owner of an electric vehicle, I am much less likely to drive to Edmonds to shop than I am when I know that I can charge my car while I walk the shops in the bowl. The charging stations also benefit the citizens of Edmonds and encourage them as well to come downtown.

    The installation of these charging stations is only one example of how the City of Edmonds has been working to reduce energy consumption and the production of GHG. Together these efforts move the City in the direction of both environmental and fiscal responsibility.

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