If you're thinking about switching over to an electric car, Park City is ready for you. There are now two charging stations in town, with potentially more on the way.
In January of 2013, the City Council was presented with a report by city staffer Matt Abbott of the sustainability department, analyzing electric vehicle usage trends in the United States and arguing for the installation of charging stations by the city. The Council was supportive and approved locating two in the China Bridge parking structure.
Those charging stations, installed this March, consist of a pair of parking spots on the first level of the China Bridge structure that have been outfitted with level-2 electric car charging equipment -- "a pretty universal install," according to Abbott.
The projected cost for installing the two charging stations was about $5,500 total, but, Abbott said, "They came in significantly cheaper. Total cost was about $2,600 or $1,300 each."
The new charging stations haven't been too busy so far.
"We know that there's a local driver using it and then we've had a few California plates and with the number of chargers that are being installed in Salt Lake, I'm anticipating more use as those drivers start coming up," Abbot said.
He explained that Salt Lake City has been expanding support for electric vehicles.
"Salt Lake has been really proactive in installing level-2 chargers. They started off with a few pilot level ones and I think they've thrown in another six since the start of this year.
Abbott is working to make sure Park City can expand its charging capabilities when the demand for it arrives.
"My encouragement for all of our new construction, and that includes the library, is to wire for it," he said. "Because the most expensive part of the program, typically, is running the wires. So when we're ready to expand -- and that's my assumption is we're going to expand -- we can do it on the cheap. But we don't have anything planned yet. And I'm discouraging council from going too crazy on it until we have steady use."
"I'm not sure what this year's going to look like," he continued. "The things I'm waiting for, there's a number of luxury automakers that are releasing their electric vehicles this year. Tesla's Model X comes out, I think January or February of 2015, and I'm hoping that as an all-wheel drive electric SUV becomes available we'll start seeing those in town more."
On days when the China Bridge lot is at capacity, drivers have grumbled about not being able to use the parking spaces where the charging stations are located.
"I've definitely heard a few [complaints], and I understand the frustration," Abbott said. "The way I see it is we're not going to encourage electric vehicle use if you drive up and you can't charge your vehicle. So I'm sticking with 'We would like those spots to remain open.' And it's only two spots."