MARTINEZ -- Electric vehicle owners can expect an end to free charging and parking in downtown Martinez after a unanimous City Council vote to charge a $1 per hour fee and limit time allowed at the city's three downtown ChargePoint stations.
The new fees and time limits will not take effect until 30 days after an expected final approval of at the Feb. 5 council meeting. Stenciling or signage is planned, and more information will be available on the city's website, according to senior management analyst Michael Chandler.
The new $16,000 charging stations were installed at Court and Main streets, the Amtrak station near the Chamber of Commerce on Marina Vista, and Martinez City Hall on Henrietta Street with the ½-cent sales tax for transportation, Measure C funds and funds from Measure J through 511 Contra Costa.
City-owned electric vehicles, Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, BMW Mini e, Tesla Roadster, Triac by Green Vehicles, Wheego and Gem (Global Electric Motorcar owners who sign up for an access SmartPass charge card) have been common users.
EV owners will also be able to pay for charges and parking with credit and debit cards when the fees go into effect.
"They have been well-utilized, with the exception of the Amtrak location," Chandler said. "That station has been inoperable since it was vandalized last August."
The repair costs for that station are estimated to be $6,608, according to Chandler's report, which also revealed that the city should expect to pay $9,051 annually for utility, software, depreciation and replacements during the estimated seven-year life of the equipment with all of the stations working.
Electricity for the EV stations is provided off the city of Martinez meters.
With city plans to install three more EVs at the Pacheco hub near the intersection of Interstate 680 and Highway 4, Lara Delany and Mark Ross, council members on the Franchise and Public Infrastructure subcommittee, favored doubling Chandler's recommended 50-cent fee to better cover the costs of operation.
"I have seen EVs parking there for extended periods of time," Ross said. "Court and Main street is a prime location."
There will be a four-hour limit on the use at that site, and a 24-hour limit for the Amtrak location, and a maximum fee of $12.
The city of Martinez will pay ChargePoint (owned by Coulomb Technologies) a 10 percent administration fee and will continue to receive detailed reports on times and duration of charging station use, according to Chandler.
"We have gotten a lot of interest and we have received calls for more stations," Chandler noted.
Contact Dana Guzzetti at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 925-202-9292.