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Mayor Durkan Opens Seattle City Light’s First Curbside Fast-Charging Stations for Electric Vehicles

Saying Seattle will continue to lead in the fight to address climate change and in clean energy innovation, today in Beacon Hill Mayor Jenny A. Durkan put into service Seattle City Light’s (SCL) first two fast-charging stations for electric vehicles. Mayor Durkan also said City will install up to 18 more charging stations at 1-15 sites in Seattle by year's end.

“Cities don’t have the luxury of climate denial and cannot wait for leaders in the other Washington to embrace science. The effect of inaction is already at our doorstep,” said Mayor Durkan. “Our City is preparing for our new reality while we work to cut emissions and prevent the catastrophic impacts of climate change. Seattle will continue to lead on climate action and fostering our green energy economy. We are electrifying our fleet, implementing strong building efficiency standards, and partnering for improved resilience planning. But there is still more work to do.”

Light-duty vehicles – including cars, trucks, and buses – account for two-thirds of Seattle’s climate-changing carbon pollution. To combat those sources of carbon emissions, the City has a goal of increasing electric light-duty ownership to 30% by 2030 while rapidly transitioning the municipal fleet to hybrid and electric vehicles, further advancing us toward our climate goal.

The new charging stations were installed as part of the City's "Drive Clean Seattle" initiative, which facilitates greater access to electric vehicle charging stations and prioritizes publicly available charging to enable shared mobility and fleet electrification.

At fast-charging stations like the ones opened today, drivers of electric vehiclescan charge them for approximately 20 minutes to get 80 miles of range and will pay 43 cents per kilowatt-hour while charging their vehicles. To charge a Nissan LEAF from a near-empty battery to fully charged would cost about $10.70.

In addition, fast-charging stations like these address range anxiety and provide access to charging for residents who may be unable to charge their vehicle at home.

Situated next to a mobility hub – with light rail and bus service just across the street – and near major arterial streets that provide access to the rest of the City, the Beacon Hill site was identified as a strong location for the first City-installed charging stations.

With electric vehicle sales at four times the national average, Seattle is consistently ranked as one of the leading markets in the United States in both the electric vehicles share and public charging infrastructures. Seattle is also identified as the largest and most important markets outside of California.

The opening of the new charging stations came on the heels of the wettest four-year period in Seattle’s history, and a new study commissioned by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) released yesterday, which found that the strength of extreme rainstorms in Seattle has increased dramatically since 2003. Rainfall patterns across the city show that these extreme weather events have grown 30 percent stronger over the past 15 years, an expected impact of climate change. The new SPU study draws from data collected by 17 SPU-owned rain gauges and from regional observations taken by the National Weather Service (NWS).


Areg Bagdasarian's picture
Areg Bagdasarian

Hi Scott, great article, and good quotes from the mayor. Seattle and Washington State are on a strong trajectory with EVs and plug-in hybrid adoption and the increased build-out out of these fast-charging stations should keep that on track. In addition, well trafficked charging station locations are not only more likely to gain more user traction, but less likely to get hit with demand charges that could curtail use.

Scott Thomsen's picture
Scott Thomsen

Thanks, Areg. One of the best aspects of this event was the immediate use by people who live and work in the neighborhood. In fact, the day before the announcement the team was completing system checks and activation when a man who lives nearby drove up in his LEAF to use the station.