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Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Installed at Mall

by ARLnow.com December 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm 5,056 31 Comments

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held this morning to unveil four electric vehicle charging stations that have been installed in the Pentagon City mall parking garage.

Arlington County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), Rep. Janice Hahn (D-Calif.) and representatives from mall owner Simon Property Group were all on hand for the ceremony. Also present were reps from 350Green, the Los Angeles-based company that manufactures the charging stations.

The charging stations are located on level 2 of the mall parking garage. They can partially charge an electric vehicle in as little as 90 minutes, while the car’s owner shops.

Photo courtesy the Office of Rep. Jim Moran

  • CrystalMikey

    Do you have to pay to use these things (outside of the garage fee, of course)?

    • We’re all paying. Hopefully you have to swipe a credit card or plunk a roll of quarters into the thing.

      • DarkHeart

        I hope they accept dollar coins.

        • That would be a good way to get rid of a stash of Sacagawea coins.

          • LVGuy

            I’d gladly trade you those coins for bills. I think they’re great for small purchases since I don’t have to take out my wallet and look for cash. Just stick my hand in my pocket and feel for some coins. They save the government a pretty penny from what I’ve heard, too.

    • I heard from the source that these chargers will be free for the first 3 to 6 months, then they will be active on Coulombs charging network after that time.

      Also one to two hours of shoping time is enough time to top off most electric cars on todays market.

      • Dave

        The Coulomb charging stations are on the Chargepoint network. However, all stations on the network belong to the business putting it up (in this case, Simon Property Group) and the owner determines what, if anything, is charged for charging. It’s quite likely many owners will keep them free and use them as an advertising gimmick. A car pulling the maximum charge will still only use about 25 cents worth of electricity an hour.

        To use these stations, it’s best to get a Chargepoint card, which is tied to a credit card. A credit card with an RFID chip will also work. As a last resort, there is an 800 number on the station you can call to get it authorized.

  • Rob G.

    Hope no one gets into a collision in the garage and bursts into flames before they’re able to find the charging stations.

    @CrystalMikey Electricity ain’t free.

  • sweet baby cheeses

    Can I charge my celly there?

  • Greg

    Nice box out by Moran on the dude on the left.

    • OX4

      I don’t think that guy was supposed to be in the photo. He was probably just hanging out in the garage having a smoke and along came a ribbon cutting ceremony.

      • Greg

        “I’m touching giant scissors!”

      • >roll<

        Look, I don't mind if I was brushed out by Rep. Moran in the slightest. But for the record, it was me to the right of Lee Slezak from DOE and the car that inaugurated the port by charging that day was in fact CO2 Fre. I don't think I was supposed to be in the photo but figured it was my car, so why not. 🙂

  • Chris M.

    So instead of a bank robbery themed day, the theme is companies who use government to siphon off money from taxpayers.


    I love people who hate companies that make a ton of money by giving people what they want, but love the ones that have to bribe politicians because nobody wants to buy what they make.

    • Josh S

      But my question for you would be – how do you tell the difference?

    • LVGuy

      I’m not sure what your last paragraph means, but when you pay taxes it doesn’t just come back to you. It’s called living in a society.

  • ArlingtonChick

    Won’t a 90 min charge on the electric cars currently on the market only get you a few extra miles of driving? Also, isn’t the best way to deal with these cars to drain the battery fully before recharging to keep a long charge? So……. what’s the point?

    (Also, for the haters, I’m looking forward to better electric cars that take less than 12 hours to recharge.)

    • South Arlington

      Isn’t it 12 hours off a standard household electric connection? I thought these high powered dedicated charging stations could charge the batteries in a few hours.

      • R. Griffon

        A Nissan Leaf, for example, takes about 8 hours on a 220V charger, but can also be “quick charged” on special 480V systems in under an hour.

        Not sure how long it takes on regular 110V, but that’s generaly supposed to only be used when nothing else is available. AFAIK all dedicated charging stations are 220V or more.

        I also believe that the charge is not linear. So you get more charge the first hour than the next, etc. So it’s conceivable that the first 90 mins could get your a significant charge.

        • It’s more of a bell curve for charging, the low end is slowed down to prevent the battery from overheating, the middle goes in smooth and the high end is like trying to stuff more charge into less space.

          My LEAF (the affore-mentioned CO2 Fre) can charge from 0% to 100% in about 7 to 7:30. Now for the LEAF-provided plug (performing “Trickle Charging”) supposedly takes 3 times the “Normal” charge as reported by the car, but as electrically it’s just half the “normal” voltage, it lies somewhere between 2 to 3 times longer. For instance, my home equipment is currently disconnected while I wait to get onto a new Dominion Virginia Power Time-Of-Use rate so I generally head over to a local MOM’s Organic Market and do some normal charging (I’ve spoken with the manager and they’re happy to help for free even though I’m more than happy to pay) and then charge the rest of my battery overnight at the Trickle rate for about 10 hours. This gets me back up to 100% for my next day’s commute.

  • zzzzz

    I think the garage in the Virginia Tech building has a few of these charging stations. But they seem to be keeping it a secret.

  • mickey644

    While Government Motors is offering to buy back the Volt, OUR socialist government is installing these? The Comedy continues in Arlington!!

    • Josh S

      Ahhh, how comforting it must be to hold on to the ol’ lampoons. Sort of like a soft blankie…..

  • Wayne Kubicki

    Let’s see if County staff – I bet some of you are out there reading this blog – will answer this….

    How many Chevy Volts and Nissan Leafs are currently registered in Arlington County?

    • zzzzz

      How many people would buy one if there was a way to charge them away from home? I will never consider buying an electric vehicle until there is a way to charge them other than running multiple extension cords out the window of my 2nd floor condo to the parking lot below. Even if I had a driveway of my very own, an electric car would have limited use if I could only charge it in that driveway.

    • +1 I’d like to know that and one niggling question I also have is given the recent changes to Virginia Code 58.1-3506, the LEAF (and Tesla Roadster and Smart ED, etc.) don’t qualify for the “Clean Fuel” Personal Property Tax discount anymore; they need to be classed under Item 40: Pure Battery-Electric Vehicle. So I wonder if the Arlington County board updated their Car Tax rates to reflect this, because it’s possible legally speaking the LEAF would be taxed at a pure gasoline car rate and a hybrid would be taxed at the lower hybrid rate. 😮

  • R. Griffon

    > Even if I had a driveway of my very own, an electric car would have limited use if I could only charge it in that driveway.

    How so? Most EVs have a range of over 40 miles. Are you really driving more than that far around town in a day? If so, then you’re right – it’s not for you. But you’re a special case. Most city dwellers (who EVs are mostly targeted towards) drive much less than that in a day. For people who drive farther, something like the Volt or upcoming Prius Plug-In Hybrid are much better options as they offer EV performance with a gas-powered backup for extended range.

    And totally agree that it doesn’t make any sense for condo and apartment dwellers to own electric. These are really for the private drive set only, at least until/unless buildings start installing their own charging infrastructure. And I think therein lies the problem with mass adoption. They’re targeted towards city dwellers, but are only really useable by people who have their own garage and/or driveways. A demographic which is very limited in and around city centers.

    • dave schutz

      The County can and should address this by requiring that a certain number of spaces in condo/rental underground garages have charging stations, and allowing owners/renters with electric cars to hook up.

    • Dave

      I think you’re underestimating the electric cars. My Leaf has about a 100 mile range in mixed driving, and I generally get 80 to 85 miles range in real world driving. Longer trips are possible if you plan it out to use a charging station or two along the way while you eat. We’ve driven about 140 miles in one day by charging while eating lunch. 6700 miles in six months. Our gas cars get very little usage these days.

      • Thank you Dave! I assume you’re my friend Dave in Maryland so this is Mid Atlantic conditions we’re talking about, not sunny LA.

        And for the record, in 30 days of driving my LEAF (CO2 Fre) I racked up over 1,600 miles. My commute is about 72 mi round trip, mostly highway driving. All in all I do quite well, thank you very much. 🙂

  • Rick

    The problem with these stations is that I can’t fit my truck in the parking space. I have to double park.


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