LADWP Will Install More Power Pole EV Chargers as Part of Pilot Program
Watts Neighborhood Council President Mac Shorty, Board of Water and Power Commissioners Vice President William Funderburk
and LADWP Director of Power Engineering Marvin Moon charge up an electric vehicle at the new pole mounted EV charger in Watts.
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) installed a utility pole-mounted electric vehicle (EV) charger in Watts as part of a pilot program to expand EV infrastructure citywide. The curbside charger, located in front of 1773 East Century Blvd., is likely the first such power pole public charger in the country according to utility officials.
“To our knowledge, this is the first time a utility pole is being used to support curbside EV charging,” said Marvin Moon, LADWP Director of Power Engineering. “This is a significant installation because LADWP has big electric transportation goals, and the only way to get there is to support the installation of EV charging infrastructure.”
Here in Los Angeles, the Department of Public Works has installed dozens of curbside EV chargers by utilizing the electrical wiring on street lights. Many other cities, including neighboring Burbank, install public chargers via underground electrical lines, requiring the street to be ripped up prior to installation and then repaved after the work is completed. The LADWP-installed power pole chargers require no additional work other than connecting the EV chargers to the existing wires on the power poles.
“If we’re serious about changing the car-buying habits of Angelenos, we need to provide opportunities to charge-up electric vehicles in Los Angeles’ low income neighborhoods as well,” Board of Water and Power Commissioner William Funderburk said during a recent gathering with community activists in Watts. “The entire City should benefit from access to this improving technology as the cost of these vehicles becomes more and more affordable.”
“This investment in the Watts community will allow more residents the option to go electric,” Mac Shorty, President of the Watts Neighborhood Counsel said. “The four hours of free charging will also allow the community to conveniently plug-in while they receive the valuable services provided by the Bradley Milken Family Source Center.”
The City of Los Angeles has surpassed the Mayor’s Sustainability goal of 1,000 public chargers installed in the city, including more than 100 on City property. However there is still a need for additional EV infrastructure. As it stands, there is currently only one public EV charger for every 20 EVs in the city. LADWP has a five-year goal to have more than 10,000 EV chargers installed, including 1,000 on City property, to support public and workplace charging as well as charging for residents of multi-unit housing.
“EV motorists need the confidence to go out there, knowing they won’t run out of power while on the go,’” said Daniel Baker, Electrical Engineering Associate. “Installing EV chargers on power poles—a job that took less than one day and four LADWP crew members to complete in Watts—is one way the City can extend the range of EVs quickly and effectively.”
Currently, there is no fee to use the utility pole-mounted EV charger in Watts. Discussions are underway about whether to enforce a parking/charging time limit at the space or to charge a fee after the car has been parked over a certain amount of time.
Three to four additional power pole EV chargers will be installed throughout the city by the end of 2017 as part of the pilot effort.
The power pole EV charger pilot program is part of LADWP’s strategy to promote additional electric vehicle transportation. In addition to public charging, LADWP offers rebates for chargers through LADWP’s Charge Up LA! Program. Residential customers can get up to $500 back for an EV charger; commercial customers can receive up to $4,000 for a qualified Level 2 (240-volt) EV charger. Commercial customers can qualify for up to 20 charger rebates per site under the program depending on the size of their parking lot. The $21.5 million rebate program will be in effect through June 30, 2018, or until funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.