The free ride for electric vehicle charging in the Del Mar Civic Center parking garage is about to end.
Since May, when the Civic Center opened at 1050 Camino del Mar, EV drivers have been able to plug in for free at three charging stations assigned to five parking spaces.
Earlier this month, the City Council approved a fee schedule that would recover costs and provide incentives to local workers. The fees are set to begin mid-March.
Acting on recommendations from industry experts and its Sustainability Advisory Board, the City Council approved a fee of 35 cents per kilowatt-hour for members of the public.
An incentive program that is set to begin July 1 would offer a discounted rate of 17.5 cents per kilowatt-hour for employees of Del Mar businesses to encourage commuting by electric vehicle. City of Del Mar employees would have access to free charging.
For each of these categories, fees will escalate to 70 cents per kilowatt-hour after three hours of time on the charger.
For most electric vehicles, a partial charge can be achieved in about three hours. The fee escalation is designed to encourage turnover at the charging stations.
Electric vehicle charging -- and the push to encourage clean-air, non-combustion vehicles -- aligns with the City’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Del Mar’s 2016 Climate Action Plan identifies transportation as the largest single cause of greenhouse gasses in the City.
To gather data and better understand usage patterns, the City launched its program of free electric vehicle charging with the intention of moving toward a fee schedule. During an eight-month period, the City incurred $9,200 in costs, with $7,500 in electricity charges and $1,700 in warranty and network costs.
An analysis of usage data shows that a fee of 35 cents per kilowatt-hour would meet operating costs and recover half of capital costs over the lifetime of the charging equipment. The rates are comparable to those charged across the region.
The rates and pricing models can be found in this Feb. 11 staff report (PDF).