@ West Seattle Transportation Coalition: Electric vehicles, & more

Is an electric vehicle in your future? The city has set a bold goal to dramatically increase the use of electric vehicles in Seattle, and that was the spotlight topic at this month’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting.

West Seattleite Chris Bast works with the city’s Office of Sustainability and Environment and spoke to the WSTC on Thursday night about Drive Clean Seattle, pursuing a goal of 30 percent electric vehicles by 2030:

That would be a huge increase, as the current electric-vehicle usage is estimated at less than one percent now. Bast said his group is due to report back to the City Council in 6 months; he spoke to councilmembers in August about the 30 percent goal, and they adopted a resolution of support earlier this month.

A key point is whether Seattle has what’s needed to handle that many electric vehicles by then. A key challenge is to get charging stations in place around the city, in homes as well as public places. Bast made note of a Seattle City Light project working with up to 200 homes for installation of charging stations. More rapid-charging stations are to be installed around the city, too. Charging stations currently are relatively few in number – there are some at the Fauntleroy ferry dock, for example.

WSTC board members and attendees asked questions about affordability and other economic-equity issues, such as whether the cost of this might leave fossil-fuel use to the economically disadvantaged, who are already being priced out of the city.

You can find out more about Drive Clean Seattle here.

BUS SHELTER REMOVAL: New business for discussion included the plan to remove two of the four non-RapidRide Metro bus shelters on the south side of SW Alaska between California and 44th. WSTC board member Chas Redmond said bus riders should have been consulted. Chris Arkills, transportation adviser to King County Executive Dow Constantine, said that the abrupt announcement of the removal via signs that appeared last weekend could have been handled better. But he pointed out that a comment period (announced via new signage shown here on Thursday) is open now.

BOARD OPENINGS: WSTC is recruiting new board members, with Ray Krueger the most-recent board member to resign. There was a suggestion of extending participation to White Center and the rest of North Highline.

2 Replies to "@ West Seattle Transportation Coalition: Electric vehicles, & more"

  • J242 November 1, 2016 (7:02 am)

    It’s not just the need for more charging stations but for inexpensive charging stations and ICE (internal combustion engine) enforcement. Currently most of the charging stations are run by private, for-profit companies like Chargepoint or Blink with no $ per KwH or $ per X amount of time rate standards which make them a last option only.

    I charge overnight at home and at work in Redmond as the company I work for has reduced fair ($0.50/hour of charging for the first 4 hours) stations. The base price is $3.50/hour making it far more expensive than gas which would definitely turn a lot of people away from going electric. I’m glad I did but it’s been a fair amount of work figuring out how to get around the often exorbitant rates being charged. Maybe they can sell the seemingly failed bike rental business and put in low-cost per KwH electric-only parking on city-owned or operated lots instead?

    As for enforcement, station spots should never have a gas-only truck parked in them taking up space that electric drivers could be actually using or electric drivers who are not plugged in and actively charging but it happens quite often. Maybe moving the stations to less than the most premium locations in the lot would help? I wouldn’t mind walking an extra hundred feet or so if it meant less gas only cars would try and take advantage of the spaces. 

  • Mike November 1, 2016 (8:44 pm)

    Replaceable battery packs, the only viable way to have electric vehicles currently for extended distances.  Hydrogen is a far more effective source to get zero emissions power, but production of hydrogen is still too expensive.  Until alternative energy is cost effective and convenient, it won’t catch on quickly.

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