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It's Battery Up!

Anaheim considers taking the lead in speeding up electric-car use in the county.


ANAHEIM — To encourage people to drive emission-free cars and reduce pollution, the Anaheim City Council today will consider making an investment to help jump-start the electric vehicle industry in Orange County.

The proposal is to acquire and spend nearly $500,000 from various sources to build a network of 25 electric vehicle-charging stations throughout Orange County that would enable electric car owners to extend the range they can travel.

Most vehicles can go between 70 and 90 miles without recharging.

These stations would be located at malls, business and entertainment centers, city halls, libraries, even at the beach.

Under the proposal, Anaheim would take the lead and become a partner with five cities, the county, the Orange County Sanitation Districts and eight private-sector participants to begin erecting an electric vehicle infrastructure.

The council must decide whether to accept a $100,000 grant from the Orange County Transportation Authority to build the first public charging stations.

Electric vehicle owners would pull up and recharge their car batteries for free for the first year of the program and after that pay for the cost of the electricity--now about a penny a mile.

Accepting the OCTA grant would begin the process of gathering enough federal, state and private funds to put up the stations, expected to cost between $8,000 and $15,000 apiece.

They would accommodate electric vehicles on the market now as well as those expected in the near future, said Diana Kotler, Anaheim's transportation programs manager.

The idea is to develop more public-access charging stations to persuade people to use electric vehicles in order to meet air-quality standards, Kotler said.

A state mandate requires that 10% of vehicles sold in Southern California by 2003 must be zero-emission vehicles.

"California has to meet federal clean air standards or face losing transportation funding," said Gloria Quinn, spokeswoman for Los Angeles-based Edison Electric Vehicles, which provides charging equipment and services in California and Arizona.

"Most of the pollution is coming from cars, so the solution has to come from cars--and electric vehicles are an important part of the solution."

Because of Anaheim's tourist industry, Mayor Tom Daly said the city should be in the forefront of supporting electric car use.

But Councilman Lou Lopez said he remains concerned that the charging stations will not be adequate to meet the demand and that the electric vehicle range is still limited.

"My concern is we need a vehicle that has a charging unit that lasts several hundred miles so it's practical in the real world today," said Lopez, who last week test- drove General Motors' EV1.

If built as envisioned, shoppers might some day be able to tool into Fashion Island, hook up and recharge while shopping.

With the latest technology, it takes up to three hours to completely charge a battery.

Now, most electric vehicle owners primarily use charging systems at their homes. There are now about 11 stations scattered throughout the county.

John C. Cox Jr., who uses his leased General Motors EV1 as an everyday car and drives it from his Newport Beach home to his office in Diamond Bar, applauds the effort.

Ideally, Cox said, he would like it to be as easy for him to "refuel" his red electric car at public charging stations as it is now to stop at a gas station.

The meeting begins at 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 200 S. Anaheim Blvd. Information: (714) 254-5166.


Getting Current

Anaheim, in partnership with seven public agencies and eight private-sector participants, proposes to develop 25 public-access, electric-vehicle charging stations in Orange County. Stations would accommodate vehicles with both inductive and conductive charging systems. There is currently no fee for the service. Proposed locations:


* City Hall West

* Anaheim Resort Area

* Stadium Business Towers


* Brea Mall

* Brea Civic Center

Costa Mesa

* South Coast Plaza*

County of Orange

* Various Civic Center parking structures

Fountain Valley

* Sanitation District

Newport Beach

* Central Library*

* City Hall*

* Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian*

* Fashion Island

Santa Ana

* Regional Transportation Center

* MainPlace/Santa Ana

Seal Beach

* Beach parking lot

* Police station

* Will have more than one charger at station


Charging stations already available to the public:

* Saturn dealerships in San Juan Capistrano, Huntington Beach and Santa Ana

* Costco in Irvine and San Juan Capistrano

* Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, Laguna Hills

* Duffield Electric Boats, Newport Beach

* Orthodyde Electronics, Irvine

* Waterfront Hilton Beach Resort, Huntington Beach

* Anaheim Hilton and Towers and Orange County Airport Hilton**

** Expected to open by the end of this week

Source: Edison Electric Vehicles; Researched by DEBRA CANO / For The Times

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