By Rich Pollack
There’s good news for electric car owners who like to zip around downtown Boca Raton in a Toyota Prius, Tesla or Nissan Leaf.
The city installed its first public electric car charging station in late September in an effort to provide convenience to those who already own battery-powered vehicles and to encourage others to be more energy efficient.
“We have to support people who have cars to charge,” says Deputy Mayor Robert Weinroth, who is the owner of an all-electric Nissan Leaf. “People are buying electric cars and we need to encourage people who want to go to an alternative-type vehicle and support them.”
In placing the charging station, city officials looked for a public site that would be centrally located and convenient. They chose the city’s downtown public library at 400 NW Second Ave.
“It’s a great location,” Weinroth said, adding that visitors to the library can charge their cars while browsing through books, using computers or attending a meeting.
The library is also close to downtown shops and restaurants, so those waiting for their cars to charge can take a short walk or catch a ride in one of the free on-demand electric vehicles operated by the Downtowner.
The EVlink 220-volt station, which can charge two cars at a time, cost the city about $2,800. The city will also pick up the tab for the electricity used, which is expected to be minimal.
Weinroth said the charging station fits in well with the city’s plans to encourage residents and visitors get around town in a more environmentally friendly way.
“It’s all part of an overall shift away from the passenger vehicle,” he said. “You can’t just pave your way out of traffic congestion.”
Weinroth said the city encourages developers in its planned mobility district to include electric car chargers in their development plans and has received a favorable response.
With the new downtown charging station, the city will be leading the way.
“This is a great first step,” Weinroth said. “I’m hoping that with the use of this station, there will be another one right behind it.”