The U.S. Department of Energy has coughed up $115 million for something called The EV Project, rolled out in October 2009 with the intention of spending the next 36 months analyzing how and how much folks actually charge their electric cars. A report's due in 2015, and Dallas is among the 18 cities taking part in the program, which is being run by San Francisco-based ECOtality, which announced only yesterday it's going to install Blink Pedestal electric vehicle charging stations at some Walmart stores in California, Oregon and Washington as part of The EV Project.
Right now, there are 13 charging stations around town, from Deep Ellum to Bishop Arts to the Green Spot to a Twin Peaks in Mesquite, seriously. The Park Board agenda for next week reveals the pending location of two more:
Fair Park (7) -- Authorize a license agreement with ECOtality for a pilot project of two electric vehicle charging stations at Fair Park (Parking Lot 5A) until the conclusion of the Electric Vehicle (EV) Project scheduled for April 30, 2013 -- No cost consideration to the City
ECOtality's spokesperson Caitlin Cieslik-Miskimen tells Unfair Park today the company had asked the city for "good potential charging station locations," and that they ultimately chose Park Park because it's a "destination location, a place where people are already going and spending a lot of time, and it's a high-profile location."
Update at 9:48 a.m. Thursday: Jose Torres, a spokesman at Dallas City Hall, just sent this note: "Dallas Love Field as well as Dallas Executive Airport will also get charging stations."
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Daniel Huerta, executive general manager at Fair Park, says ECOtality and the city considered Love Field and other parks but settled on Fair Park in large part because the stations will go in the main lot, and "we need to look at more green initiatives," Huerta says. Also: "Earth Day Dallas is moving to Fair Park in the spring."
"I don't know how popular it will be," Huerta says, "but it'll give us a chance to see if there's an opportunity we're missing. Maybe we need to do this in more parking lots., But we thought it would be a great initiative for the city and something the citizens with electric cars could benefit from. We wanted to be a part of that. ... I don't know if they have any projections [about possible usage], but they're trying to raise awareness and promote green vehicles. And as many vehicles as we park every year there's probably a market [for this at Fair Park]. It'll give us a chance to find out."
Oh, one more thing: This is not, as someone in the office speculated, related to the mysterious Project Wall-E real-estate deal, even though, as Economic Development bossman Karl Zavitkovsky told us last month, the "E" is the key.
Concerning Project Wall-E, he told me this afternoon, "nothing will break on it before Christmas, just because it's a fairly complicated deal. E is the key word, but it'll be hard to figure. I don't think it's coming up on anybody's screen, so to speak, but it'll be an interesting deal." It's just not this one.