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Electric Car Charging Station Opens at Atlantic Station

Atlanta's first solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations will open to the public Thursday.

Forward-thinking drivers soon will have more fueling options in Midtown.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed unveiled three electric vehicle charging stations during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Atlantic Station Wednesday. 

"The city is pushing for the wide adoption of these charging stations," Reed said. "I know we can be a top ten city of sustainability. This is a vital part of that."

The electric charging stations are located at the Millennium Gate in Atlantic Station, a mixed-use development on 17th Street in Midtown Atlanta. 

Reed and other government officials arrived to Atlantic Station Wednesday in a Chevrolet Volt -- a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle manufactured by General Motors in 2010 -- to unveil the new electric vehicle charging stations.

Reed told Midtown Patch he isn't too concerned about Atlanta businesses that sell gasoline. Oil companies are not "hurting," he said.

"This is another alternative," Reed said. "We're reducing our dependency on foreign oil and expanding the menu."

The charging station will be powered by overhead solar panels. The 24-hour station will be open to motorists with electric-powered, zero-emissions vehicles. People can use the stations free of charge until January 2012.

After January, the electric charging stations will operate similar to a parking meter, according to Allison Ventura, pricing analyst for Georgia Power.

The fee for using the stations will be $3.00 per hour, she said.

Typically, people who charge their electric vehicles overnight will spend about what a person would pay if he filled up with gas priced at 71 cents per gallon, according to Georgia Power.

Mark Frost, vice president for Jim Ellis GM Brands, was also at the ceremony Wednesday.

Frost said 32 orders for the Chevrolet Volt have been placed since the electric car debuted in 2010. About 80 people remain on a waiting list.

Electric vehicles are not more or less profitable for car dealers, Frost said. The electric vehicles require the same maintenance as gasoline-powered vehicles, he said.

"A car is a car," Frost said. "We buy it for a certain amount and sell it for a certain amount."

American-made electric vehicles including the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf can charge at the new stations. It will take three to seven hours to fully charge a car at Atlantic Station. Other stations can take 11 to 25 hours to fully charge. 

malcolmxmas August 31, 2011 at 08:21 PM
I have questions: Who is paying for this charging station - is it a private venture (fine) or is it a taxpayer-funded deal (fiasco)? In what way does this make any sense at all from a business standpoint, whether private or taxpayer funded? There have been only 32 orders for an electric car in a city of 6 million people, so we need a charging station? It looks like there are 3 spots - so the maximum revenue it can generate in a give 24 hour period is $216. Assuming that the more likely scenario is that most of these electric car customers would rather drive their cars and keep them at home, let's assume a best case scenario of 3 cars at 8 hours a day = $72/day. Assuming that the cost of this charging station was the typical, inflated "green" cost - let's say, $250K - we're looking at a 9.6 year ROI. Even at half the cost, we're looking at almost 5 years and I doubt the Volt technology has a half-life much longer than that... Please tell me the only taxpayer money wasted was on the mayor's photo-op...
Caleb J. Spivak August 31, 2011 at 08:55 PM
Hi malcolmxmas -- Thanks for your comment. I just wanted to clarify that the 32 figure is just for the dealership mentioned in the article. We don't have intel on the entire number of electric vehicles that have been ordered in all of Metro Atlanta and surrounding areas.
Urbanist September 01, 2011 at 04:07 PM
"I Know we can become a top 10 city of sustainability" - Is that a joke? He makes that comment over a small charging station, while spending gobs of money and drawing up plans to expand the commuting convenience for all of the surrounding cities/counties of Atlanta!? How is it that the mayor of this city is going to get a pass for making a comment like that, when the transportation policies are probably the least sustainable in the country!? Unreal.
p September 02, 2011 at 01:24 AM
It is not reasonable to expect owners to use a level 2 charger, which for my Leaf would take 8 hours to charge. I can do this at home much more affordably. The only way to make this viable for owners and the property is to make these level 3 chargers which would charge my car in 30 minutes. Charge me the same $3 for 30 minutes. Everyone wins. Understand that this is a $60 K investments for the chargers versus the $6 K needed for level 2 chargers but if no one uses it then your ROI will not exist. What this come off as a political ploy to look like you are helping when in fact your not. You may even be hurting EVs because when people don't use the chargers you will pull them out and people say that EVs are not viable when in fact people are just not educated enough to know where they really are like in my situation.
Don Francis September 03, 2011 at 03:37 PM
As a Leaf owner I can report that having level 2 charging at a place like Atlantic Station is exactly what is needed. On a daily basis, I am driving 15 to 45 miles which takes somewhere between 1 to 3 hours to recharge each night. This initial charging station location at Atlantic Station will allow residence of the area to have access to a charging station until more can be provided, it also will allow visitors to the complex from the suburbs to extend their range while eating at a restaurant, see a movie, attend an event or other activities. Only a very limited number of electric vehicles are currently capable of using DC fast charge and no one really knows yet if customers will demand or pay for their use. At somewhere between $60k and $100k to install a DC fast charge system, the price to use the system will be much greater than $3 for a charge.
Mark Gray September 06, 2011 at 08:02 PM
I do not yet have my electric car, but I have ordered a Leaf. I expect most of my charging will be at home, but I can see some benefit to having chargers like these available at destinations that are a little far for my current charge. I do not expect charging stations like this to directly pay for their installation any time soon from parking fees, but there are other ways to earn back the cost. Knowing I can plug in would make me more likely to make the trip and more likely to stay longer and spend more (by adding some shopping or a movie to my plan) so I will have enough time to charge. I wonder how popular pay-to-charge stations will be. I can see paying for the convenience of a high-voltage quick charge, but I do not expect most drivers will be willing to pay much for the normal rate of charging that this station offers. The Leaf uses only about 17 cents of electricity per hour of charging. At your house with the Georgia Power super-off-peak rate (11pm-7am) you can get a full 100-mile charge for only about 33 cents.
Don Francis September 06, 2011 at 09:08 PM
If you are interested in learning more about electric vehicles and the Georgia Power Time of Use - PlugIn Electric Vehicle rate, attend the next EV Club of the South meeting at Manuel's on Highland Avenue on Wednesday, September 21 at 6:00 pm. Georgia Power Pricing and Rates personnel will be presenting information about the new TOU-PEV rate.

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