By Tammy Murga
Signal Staff Writer
As local leaders gathered at a Santa Clarita Metrolink Station parking lot Thursday, Mayor Marsha McLean announced citywide efforts to introduce a step forward in transportation and the environment.
“Today marks a really special occasion in Santa Clarita, and we’re here to celebrate the installation of this new electric vehicle charging station, which furthers the city’s mission in providing green transportation alternatives to our residents,” she said to a crowd of residents and dignitaries at the ribbon-cutting.
The EVConnect charging facility, which can charge up to two vehicles at a time, is located at the entrance plaza of the Metrolink station and is the city’s eighth public charging station. Other locations include Canyon Country Plaza, Bridgeport Marketplace and Valencia Hyatt.
Drivers may activate service through the EVConnect mobile application, where they also can monitor their current charge sessions in real time.
The new charger was made possible through a local government partnership program with the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee. Contract Administrator Cynthia Ravenstein said the MSRC provided the city with about $50,000 to help with tasks necessary to build the station, such as finding the proper site and upgrading infrastructure.
“This is not a simple thing to put it in, but (the city) went the extra mile to do this for the public,” she said.
An important expansion
Electric car owner and Santa Clarita resident Kathy Christianson thanked the city and MSRC for the new addition. She said Thursday, “The new EVConnect fast charger is an important expansion to our community’s electric vehicle charging network.”
Christianson is part of a 150-member Facebook group titled
“Santa Clarita Electric Vehicle Group.” She said their goal is to “(work) together to answer questions, share information, and work with the community to add more public charging stations.”
Active members have been closely following the city’s next moves toward growing the charging facility network, including the City Council’s recent approval of nine new chargers in locations such as the Old Town Newhall Parking Structure, and the Central and Canyon Country parks.
Santa Clarita secured these additions thanks to MSRC’s grant funding and hardware donations from FivePoint for eight of the nine stations, while the city will cover installation and software costs, according to city staff.
The Santa Clarita Valley has 24 charging stations and could reach about 2,000 stations as Net Zero Newhall — a project to make Newhall Ranch one of the most environmentally sustainable communities in the nation — comes into fruition, according to officials with the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp.
Last year in April, Tesla opened its supercharging location at the Bridgeport Marketplace in Valencia, the first one available in the SCV.
“California continues to lead the way with its adoption of electric vehicles,” Holly Schroeder, SCVEDC president, said in a statement. “While the number of electric vehicles on the road is still under 5 percent of the total vehicle fleet, that number has risen 53 percent in the last five years.”