Fall at Skagit Hydroelectric Project, Photo by Kevin Lidtka
Seattle City Light LARRY WEIS, General Manager and CEO
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations FAQ
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Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations FAQ


What is a DC Fast Charger?


Direct Current (DC) Fast Chargers (480 volt) are also known as Level 3 chargers. This charging speed is only found at public chargers due to the size and cost of the equipment. It provides about 50 miles for every 15 minutes you charge.

For more information on Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 chargers, visit: https://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/electricity_infrastructure.html.

Why is Seattle City Light installing electric vehicle charging stations?


Seattle’s strong economy, environmental ethics and low cost of energy have created ideal conditions for the adoption of electric vehicles. City Light’s public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations are intended to reduce barriers to electric vehicle adoption in two ways: By increasing charger availability and distributing charging stations equitably around the City of Seattle.

In 2016, the City of Seattle’s Office of the Mayor announced the Drive Clean Seattle Initiative, a City-wide effort to increase EV adoption. The Seattle City Council also formalized a target of 30 percent electric vehicles in Seattle by 2030 in coordination with the mayor’s office.

In support of this effort, City Light committed to installing 20 public direct current (DC) fast charging stations on 15 sites, starting in 2017.

Where will the charging stations be located?


The public charging stations will be located by curbside parking spots and in parking lots throughout Seattle — and possibly City Light’s neighboring franchise cities.

How are charging station locations determined?


To determine the location of individual charging stations, City Light reviews potential sites and identifies those that meet criteria which help us achieve the goals of our pilot.

These criteria include locations where there are low numbers of DC fast chargers and EV owners, as well as areas subjected to higher pollution. If a site meets these criteria and other technical parameters such physical space and electric service capacity, they will move forward and potentially become part of the pilot program.

If a site meets the criteria above and does not become part of the pilot program, it will be considered as a future site should the pilot program grow into a larger City Light program.

What days of the week and hours of the day will stations be available? Will there be any restrictions to access at certain times?


Curbside City Light charging stations will be available for charging 24/7. Charging stations installed in parking lots may be subject to restrictions related to the access of the individual parking lots.

How are City Light’s charging stations different than any other charging station?


City Light’s public charging pilot program focuses on DC fast charging stations, which can charge electric vehicles much faster than most charging stations found in our region.

Also, City Light’s charging stations will be distributed equitably throughout the utility’s service area — not just in downtown Seattle or north Seattle, where most charging stations can be found today.

How can I tell if a charging station is currently in use?


The website and mobile app PlugShare is a great resource to see if City Light’s DC fast charging stations (or any local charging stations, for that matter) are currently in use.

Will the charging station work with any electric vehicle?


Not all EVs are enabled with DC fast charging capabilities, so you need to determine if your vehicle is compatible with City Light’s public charging stations before you visit.

The odds are good that your EV is compatible. City Light’s charging stations are equipped with both CHAdeMO and SAE J1772 Combo connectors to serve a wide variety of DC fast charging capable vehicles.

How much will it cost to charge my vehicle?


You’ll be happy to find City Light’s fees competitive. As City Light builds its first few charging stations, the utility will charge a market rate session fee. City Light will refine its fee structure and fee as more stations join the network.

How do I pay?


You’ll pay to charge your EV at the DC fast charging stations with a credit card. City Light is investigating including an RFID card payment option for its stations in the future.

Do I have to pay for parking in addition to charging?


Depending on the location, parking fees may apply. For public right-of-way sites, fees will be posted and collected in the same transaction as the charging fee collection. For parking lots, the collection of parking fees may vary depending upon the location

How long will it take to charge my vehicle?


The DC fast charging stations can charge your EV up to about 80% charge in 20-30 minutes.

What is the climate impact of the electricity that will power my EV?


City Light’s electricity is 100 percent carbon-neutral. In fact, 90 percent of City Light’s electricity comes from low-impact hydroelectric sources. While you are charging your electric vehicle with City Light’s power, you can rest assured that you aren’t trading one source of climate-changing environmental pollution for another.

Road transportation accounts for two-thirds of Seattle’s carbon pollution. Replacing that pollution with City Light’s carbon-neutral electricity is good for both the environment and the people in our region.

Who do I talk to if I have more questions?


If you need to talk about issues specific to charging station construction, contact Emerging Technology Supervisor John Owen. If you have general questions about electric vehicles and energy conservation, contact a Seattle City Light Energy Advisor via email or at (206) 684-3800.

For more information on the Drive Clean Seattle Initiative, please visit the initiative’s website.

Who do I call to report a car that is parked in an EV parking spot but is not charging?


For stations located in the public right-of-way (curbside charging), the parking spaces will be clearly marked for EV vehicles, and parking will be enforced just like any other City parking spot. If you see someone parked improperly, you may call Parking Enforcement at (206) 386-1578.

Stations outside of the public right-of-way might have unique parking enforcement options, which will be communicated when those stations are installed.

Who do I call if I’m having problems with the charging station?


There will be a phone number with 24/7 coverage posted at each station. You can call this number for any problem you may experience.


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