Two new charging stations for electric vehicles opened in California on Wednesday. The stations at the Whole Foods store in South Berkeley include DC Fast Charging units that can add 40 miles of range to an electric vehicle in about 10 minutes. About 350 electric vehicles are registered to Berkeley residents and businesses, an increase of more than 70 percent in the last six months.
Whole Foods, on Telegraph and Ashby avenues, is the first business to participate in a city of Berkeley pilot program to ease the permitting and installation of EV charging stations. The Non-Residential Plug-In Electric Vehicle Charging Station Pilot Program has staff who personally guide businesses through the process. Applications will be accepted through the end of the year.
“It is only natural that we offer EV charging stations at our stores, especially in forward-thinking communities like Berkeley,” said Tristam Coffin, energy and maintenance coordinator at Whole Foods Market.
The city of Berkeley supports the spread of EV infrastructure and the use of electric vehicles as part of the Climate Action Plan’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent by 2020. Vehicle travel currently generates more than half of the community’s greenhouse gas emissions and driving an EV in Berkeley in place of a conventional automobile can reduce the greenhouse emissions associated with its travel by as much as 70 percent.
The EV charging stations installed at the Whole Foods are operated by NRG eVgo and offer DC fast charging and Level 2 charging. Shoppers can use a credit card or subscribe to one of NRG eVgo’s charging plans to pay for charging at Whole Foods EV charging stations.
“The city of Berkeley’s pilot program has expedited the permitting process for electric vehicle charging station installations and enabled us to more quickly deploy the NRG eVgo network for drivers in the area,” said Terry O’Day, VP of NRG eVgo in California.
In the feature photo at top: NRG eVgo is building a network of more than 200 Freedom Station fast-charging sites as well as the infrastructure to support Level 2 charging at apartments, workplaces, schools and hospitals throughout California.