LMC gets charged up for electric vehicles


Krys Shahin

PG&E construction workers create space for the new charging stations in Lot A.

Spencer Batute, @BatuteSpencer

Electric vehicles are not just the future — they are the near future. Construction of 18 new electric vehicle charging stations in Parking Lot A is expected to be completed by the beginning of September, with the stations becoming operable around October.

The construction in the parking lot, which started at the end of July, is expected to finish some time in the beginning of September. However, the stations will not actually be operable until October, as some PG&E system upgrades have still not been made and require coordination with the surrounding community.

Once the stations are online, people with a parking permit will be able to use them by paying a fee via the ChargePoint app or a ChargePoint card.

Users will be charged $0.42/kWh during the first four hours of use. After 4 hours, users will be charged an hourly rate of $4. “However, this (rate) will be continually monitored and reviewed by the district,” said Tracy L. Marcial, Energy & Sustainability Manager at the District Office.

The chargers use Level 2 circuitry — the most common type among public electric vehicle charging stations (EVCS). The 240 Volt, 40 Amp stations yield about 25 miles of Range Per Hour (RPH), and can be used by any electric vehicle (EV) with the exception of Teslas, which require a certain adapter to use them.

One station will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and one will be van-accessible. Prior to this project, there were no EVCS on campus.

However, the addition of the EVCS displaced normal parking spaces. “13 Faculty spots were removed along with a few metered spots and now we’re trying to figure out where those are going to go,” said LMC President Bob Kratochvil.

Owners of EVs often have to take extra planning steps so as to stay charged up. John Barnaby, an RN student, often has to leave school early to let his Tesla charge long enough for his wife to use it. 

The addition of EVCS on campus “would be awesome,” Barnaby said.

Planning for the project began in late 2017 when LMC was approved for a grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) that partially paid for the construction of the EVCS, which were beginning to be required as part of the bond program and by building codes. Simultaneously, LMC applied for PG&E’s newly founded EV Charge program, which provides the design and construction of the electrical infrastructure for the EVCS up to the point of connection of the stations.

As a “disadvantaged community” that falls in the top 25% of communities in PG&E’s service area that are disproportionately burdened by multiple sources of pollution, LMC also qualified for a different subset of the program which paid for the EVCS themselves with a small participation fee.

The project is projected to cost LMC less than $30,000 to install the infrastructure and EVCS. PG&E is providing funding for approximately $190,000 in infrastructure and EVCS. In other words, LMC is paying $30,000, to get a project valued at about $220,000.

Much of the funding from PG&E and the BAAQMD is in order to meet California’s clean energy goals, based on the California Energy Commission.

“Since the transportation industry in CA accounts for 40% of the greenhouse gases in California, achieving these goals will have a huge impact,” said Marcial.