Truckee unveils two public electric vehicle charging stations |

Truckee unveils two public electric vehicle charging stations

Kaleb M. Roedel
The Truckee Donner Public Utility District opened new plug-in electric vehicle charging stations at the Truckee Depot (pictured) and the Pioneer Commerce Center last week.
Kaleb M. Roedel / Sierra Sun |

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TRUCKEE, Calif. — For more than two years, the Truckee Donner Public Utility District has planned to expand the amount of plug-in electric vehicle charging stations in town.

That expansion officially began Thursday when the TDPUD unveiled two new PEV public access charging stations in town with a pair of ribbon-cutting ceremonies.

One station is at the Truckee Depot site in Historic Downtown Truckee, and the second is at 11025 Pioneer Trail, in the Pioneer Commerce Center just north of Interstate 80. Each location has two, Level 2 charging stations.

“We’re excited … to offer this service to our community,” said TDPUD Conservation Manager Steven Poncelet, who kicked off both ceremonies with a speech. “We’ve been looking at charging stations for three years now as we’re really seeing the evolution of that market, and we’re seeing PEVs really start to come into Truckee in large numbers.”

Case in point, the public charging station the TDPUD put in behind Meadow Park in 2007 has seen its annual energy use increase more than seven times — from 281 kilowatt hours to 2,096 kWh — in the last three years, Poncelet said.

He said that fact, along with Tesla’s recent footprint in Truckee (a Tesla supercharging station opened in September 2014 behind the Safeway building on Donner Pass Road) and the important role electric vehicles play in California hitting its greenhouse gas reduction goals, were motivating factors for the TDPUD to bring in two more public access charging stations.

Poncelet then broke down the three questions the district asked itself during the planning process.

“The impact to load? They (electric cars) use electricity, we sell electricity,” he said. “The impact to our distribution system? We got to make sure we’re charging adequately for these cars and the charging equipment. And then public access — can Truckee Donner PUD deliver this service to our community in a way that’s competitive with what the market will offer?”

Bob Ellis, TDPUD board president, said the district would continue to monitor and study the impacts of PEVs on the district.

“So that we’re in position to take advantage of this exciting new trend while protecting the interest of our customers,” he added.

At the Truckee Depot site, town of Truckee Mayor Alicia Barr capped the ribbon-cutting ceremony by sharing her and Truckee Town Council’s enthusiasm for clean energy and clean transportation.

“We’re very proud to collaborate on a lot of projects that truly benefit the community,” Barr said. “We’re so excited to see just the beginning of the transformation in the way that we think of transportation.”

Not to mention climate change, she said.

“Climate change is obviously on everybody’s minds these days,” Barr said. “And our council has recently made it a goal to really assess and have a climate action plan. And I know the TDPUD is going to be a key partner in that for us.”

To promote the new stations, TDPUD is offering free charging for the first month of operation.

After that, the stations require payment using either credit card or a charging app on a smartphone. An average total charge for a customer is likely to be $3 to $4, Poncelet said previously.

Installation of the two new stations was aided by a $200,000 grant awarded to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency from the California Energy Commission, according to previous reports.

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