Electric vehicle charging stations coming to Metro park and ride stations

EV chargers at Union Station.

EV chargers at Union Station.

EV drivers will soon be able to charge their vehicles at five Metro park and ride stations: Union Station, Sierra Madre Villa Station, Willow Station, El Segundo Station and Universal City Station. Each of the five locations will have four Level 2 chargers that can accommodate up to eight vehicles at a time. The first two locations, Union Station (located at P2D in the underground parking structure) and Sierra Madre Villa Station, opens to the public in early January 2013. All stations will be open by mid-February 2013.

IMG_3409The installation of these EV charging stations is part of a one-year pilot program. Metro hopes that these stations will encourage EV drivers to combine public transportation with driving. EV drivers will be able to charge their vehicles while using Metro to run errands, or while commuting the rest of the way to work.

EV drivers need to subscribe with Metro to use these charging stations. Once they sign up, they will receive a key fob linked to either a credit card or PayPal account. To start a charge, plug the EV in and wave the key fob over the reader. The cost is $1/hr and tops out at $3. EV drivers will receive a text notification when the $3 maximum has been charged. EV drivers can also call 213-922-GO.EV (4638) for customer support.

This pilot program marks the first time a transportation agency has directly incorporated EV charging stations as part of the transit system. Metro is working with EV Connect to install and operate the charging stations. The program is funded by a grant from the California Energy Commission.

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14 thoughts on “Electric vehicle charging stations coming to Metro park and ride stations

  1. I wrote a long post about why I think it’s good but lost it. As an electric vehicle driver, I think this is a good plan but think that Metro should work with one of the two companies that already have a substantial network of charging stations (Charge Point and Blink/Ecotality) instead of creating their own systems. Price of power is somewhat irrelevant. If you need it, you use it. If not, you don’t

  2. Your systems are not good here. Just trying to get one of these devices looks like it will cost $25 plus having to pre-purchase some type of ‘credit’ for future charging.

    1)Instead of being billed in dollar amounts I am asked to buy credits that don’t seem to correlate to dollar amounts. What are these credits, how are they valued?

    2)Is there a charge just for having the key fob that will be assessed each month or is this a pay as I go program?

    3)Why do you need my birthday and other personal data for this system? What if I don’t want to provide it to you?

    4)How will I know the amount of cost being assessed on usage?

    5)Are the per hour rates rounded up or down? If I connect for 1hour and 2 minutes will I be charged two hours or one?

    6) Will the systems be able to use the paypass type technology on the credit cards similar to the Chargepoint company systems?

  3. Hey Adam;

    I’ll try to get some answers to your questions.

    Steve Hymon
    Editor, The Source

  4. Hi Adam;

    Here are the answers from Metro staff to your questions about the charging stations. Hope this helps — Steve Hymon, editor/The Source:

    1) Instead of being billed in dollar amounts I am asked to buy credits that don’t seem to correlate to dollar amounts. What are these credits and how are they valued?

    100 credits costs $1, and will allow for one hour of charging. Metro’s network provider uses credits instead of dollars because in the Los Angeles area, EV charge station providers are generally not allowed to “resell” electricity, as this is reserved for licensed utilities. Using a credit system allows providers to work around this issue.

    Metro also opted for a credit system funded by fewer, discrete transactions through PayPal for a couple of reasons. First, if we processed credit card transactions each time you charged your vehicle, you would pay a higher percentage (15% or more) of each transaction in credit card authorization charges. By paying once to credit your account, we substantially reduce the credit card network transaction charges.

    Secondly, PayPal is fully PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant. This is more secure because Metro and its network provider will not record or manage your credit card number.

    2) Is there a charge just for having the key fob that will be assessed each month or is this a pay as I go program?

    There is no monthly or start up fee. During the pilot period, the cost of charging is $1/hour with a cap of $3 for the entire charge session. 

    3) Why do you need my birthday and other personal data for this system? What if I don’t want to provide it to you?

    Your birthday is not required, so you can leave that field blank. Your address is needed so that we can mail your welcome kit and RFID key fob.

    4) How will I know the amount of cost being assessed on usage?

    You can check the cost of a transaction and your credit balance after each charge by logging onto your account at metro.net/evaccount.

    5) Are the per hour rates rounded up or down? If I connect for 1 hour and 2 minutes will I be charged two hours or one?

    Charging costs are rounded off to the nearest whole minute not the hour. If you used the charge station for 1 hour and 2 minutes, you would pay $1.03 to be exact. 

    6) Will the systems be able to use the paypass type technology on the credit cards similar to the Chargepoint company systems?

    During the pilot period, integrations with external systems like the toll road PayPass will not be available. These will require additional development work which was not covered by the California Energy Commission grant.

    In regard to integration with other charge station networks, there are numerous trade groups exploring how to make interoperability work. Metro’s network provider will continue to participate in these groups to ensure that interoperability becomes a reality in the future.

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