Seattle City Light opened its two fast-charging stations for electric cars on Beacon Hill on Tuesday, the first of 20 planned charging stations that the utility hopes to open in the city by the end of 2018.
The charging stations, along with hundreds that Seattle City Light is working to install in private homes, are part of “Drive Clean Seattle,” a city initiative to reduce carbon emissions that cause climate change.
Seattle City Light has budgeted $2.2 million for the 20 public charging stations, a City Light spokesman said.
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The two new stations are on 16th Avenue South, about a block from the Beacon Hill light-rail station.
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The charging stations, which look similar to standard gas pumps, can charge an electric car for about 80 miles of travel in about 20 minutes.
Fully charging the nearly depleted battery of a Nissan Leaf will cost about $10.70 at the new stations, Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office said.
“Seattle believes in science and will lead the nation in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions,” Durkan said. “Leveraging the nation’s greenest utility, we can clean our air with more electric vehicles on our roads.”
Former Mayor Ed Murray launched the “Drive Clean Seattle” initiative in 2016, aiming to expand electric-vehicle use in the city to 15,000 cars by 2025.
Since 2001, every mayor of Seattle has pledged to cut carbon pollution, but the city’s emissions have remained stubbornly high, essentially at the same level where they were in 1990, according to a report from KUOW.
The main culprit is transportation, which is responsible for about two-thirds of the city’s greenhouse-gas emissions.
Seattle is also trying to increase the number of electric vehicles in its city-owned fleet. Last year, the city joined with 30 other cities to ask automakers about the cost and feasibility of providing electric vans and trucks, which are generally not available for mass production.
The city has about 3,000 vehicles in its fleet. About 25 percent of the city’s passenger sedans are electric, but passenger sedans only account for about 500 of the city’s 3,000 vehicles.
“The City has a goal of increasing electric light-duty ownership to 30 percent by 2030 while rapidly transitioning the municipal fleet to hybrid and electric vehicles,” Durkan’s office said Tuesday.
Washington state announced last year that it would spend $1 million to help build 15 new electric-vehicle-charging stations along some of the state’s busiest highways.