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City Council Approves Overstay Charge and Network Upgrade for City Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

January 15, 2020

City Council Approves Overstay Charge and Network Upgrade for City Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Last night, the Santa Monica City Council approved measures to incentivize turnover at electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and replace outdated stations with more advanced technology to increase access to public EV charging. Beginning 30 days after the second reading of the ordinance in late February, an overstay charge for exceeding time limits will help recoup operating costs and discourage drivers from leaving their EVs in charging spaces longer than needed, freeing those spaces for use by other EV drivers. After a ten-minute grace period, drivers will be charged $1/minute for staying beyond the posted time limit. The maximum charge is set at $53, which is equivalent to standard parking overstay citations. The overstay charge will be reinvested in the charging network.  

“We’ve always told EV drivers you’ll get a charge out of Santa Monica, and so many have taken us up on that offer that we need to create charging turnover to provide fairer access,” said Mayor Kevin McKeown. “While we’re making our 140 existing chargers more available, Santa Monica also will be doubling our public chargers by the end of this year, which means more charging opportunities in more of our neighborhoods.” 

Drivers will be notified of the charge by signage at the stations and through text notifications when they begin a charging session.  

Council also directed staff to include a user fee amount in the June budget following the results of a fee study. The user fee will be a per kWh amount charged to drivers for the use of the stations. Santa Monica is one of very few cities still offering free public charging, which has acted as a disincentive to vacating charging stations.  

The user fee and overstay charge were recommendations from the resident EV Subcommittee. 

Approximately half of the City’s public stations are networked and utilize ChargePoint software, which has the ability to alert drivers of charge level, local station availability, expired times, and to collect payment. First-generation non-networked charging stations do not have these features. Council voted to upgrade non-networked chargers to create a consistent user experience across the system over the next one to two years.  

When sufficient revenues become available, Council directed staff to prioritize investments in new charger installations. They also encouraged ways to incentivize EV installation in multifamily housing and businesses.  

The City of Santa Monica is a public sector leader in driving sustainable innovation in the transportation marketplace, including electric vehicles. Both the City’s EV Action Plan and Climate Action & Adaptation Plan outline EV adoption as a key component to reducing local greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality. The adoption of the EV Action Plan in 2017 has led to greater investment in public charging infrastructure, supportive local EV policies, and incentives to help more residents shift to EVs. The goal is to get to 1,000 public chargers by 2025.

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