The white plug attached to the pole is released once the car owner starts up the system

By BARRY LANK

Echo Park  — Another reminder that we’re living in the future: Electric charging stations are popping up on public utility poles throughout the city, including in  Echo Park

The city’s Bureau of Street Lighting has now installed 132 public charging stations citywide, according to Diana Bulnes, a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Public Works.  The stations are attached to existing utility poles, including one in the 1300 block of Sunset Boulevard near Douglas Street in Echo Park.

A

2017 city report

on the  charging stations describes the benefits:“The installation of EV chargers on street lighting poles in the public right of way will establish the City as the nation’s leader in green technology, providing the largest public EV charging network on streetlight poles. It will expand electric car use in the region, reduce C02 emissions from the environment, and encourage further advancements in zero-emission vehicles.”

Charging a vehicle costs from $1 per hour to $3 per hour, depending on where you are. After downloading an app to a mobile phone, the driver scans in the station number to start the process. A white plug mounted high on the pole is released and later retracts once the vehicle is recharged.

How long it takes to charge depends on your particular vehicle, Bulnes said. These are Level 2 chargers, so fully charging a Ford Focus EV, for example, might take around 3.5 hours, according to Clipper Creek.

Where the next public charger pops up depends on a lot of things, including what the traffic patterns look like and which members of the public speak up, Bulnes said.

“The Bureau looks for areas with heavy vehicle traffic, as well as neighborhoods that may be underserved in terms of charging infrastructure or overlooked by private sector charging companies,” Bulnes said. “We also request suggested locations from the Council Offices and will consider requests that come in from the public.”

Each station costs the city $5,000 to $7,000 – a sum covered by grants, rebates and city funds, Bulnes said.

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