Charging stations installed in response to the growing electric vehicle population in L.A.
Two electric vehicle charging stations were recently installed in Parking Structure 9, in anticipation of increased demand for electric cars in the West Los Angeles area.
By Yanting Li
Originally posted in Daily Bruin
The charging stations were acquired through a 2009 federal grant. Each station costs $20,000 for UCLA Transportation to install, said Dave Karwaski, senior associate director at UCLA Transportation.
The cost and complexity of the installation process has been slightly disappointing, Karwaski said. Each station requires an intricate wiring scenario and voltage adjustments within the parking structure.
He said the department is thinking about the long term, however.
“With the grant money, we are slowly deploying them out there, which fits right into our goals for sustainable transportation,” Karwaski said.
Charging at the stations will cost $2 per hour. The fee is set mainly to mediate high demand, Karwaski said. Four more stations will be installed by the end of the quarter, with 7-8 more planned for the spring.
“Demand is coming,” Karwaski said. “There are already a handful of EV owners on campus, and there is some sense that West Los Angeles will become an early adopter location for electric vehicles.”
This assertion is supported by a May 2011 study by the Luskin Center, which found that electric vehicle sales could comprise 9 percent of new car sales by 2015 in Los Angeles.
Generally short driving distances in West Los Angeles area seem to favor electric cars, said Jeff Dubin, a professor at Anderson School of Management who collaborated on the study.
“Environmental preferences are definitely there, and there are a lot of people who would want that kind of car,” Dubin said.
By not burning fossil fuels, electric vehicles also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which meet some of the transportation department’s goals, Karwaski said.
Rajit Gadh, a professor of engineering, has been driving an electric vehicle for a couple of weeks in conjunction with his research project, which will explore how electrical charging stations will affect the power grid.
“Having the stations is a necessary ingredient (of our research),” Gadh said. “It’s like having a living lab.”
His team has also developed a mobile application to optimize use of the charging stations by letting users know the charge status of their vehicles, he said.
Karwaski stressed the charging stations should not become an electrical vehicle owner’s primary charging hub. The stations are intended to serve commuters, customers and visitors to the university, he said.
Published: Friday, September 23, 2011