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Sacramento Welcomes High-Speed Charging Plaza at Light Rail Station

The latest piece of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the California capital represents a partnership among Sacramento Regional Transit, Giddy Up EV Charging and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

A new high-speed electric vehicle charging plaza in Sacramento is able to accommodate heavy-duty vehicles like buses and large trucks. The facility is located alongside a light rail transit stop.
Submitted Photo: SacRT
Electric vehicle charging and light rail transit have come together to bring high-speed charging to a transit stop in Sacramento, Calif., signaling the kinds of partnerships possible as electrification plays a larger role in the transportation sector.

Fiona Ma, who serves as California state treasurer, called the partnership “a game-changer,” during the opening of the charging facility last month at the Power Inn light rail station, operated by Sacramento Regional Transit (SacRT). “This is just the start.”

The project is a partnership among SacRT, Giddy Up EV Charging and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). The development placed 10 high-speed, 175-kilowatt chargers at the station located near the intersection of two busy thruways used by both commuters and pass-through traffic.

The high-speed EV charging hub at light rail stations “is one example of how transit agencies, state and local governments, and private partners can work together to make it easier and more efficient for people to get where they need to go,” said Henry Li, general manager and CEO for SacRT, in some of his comments at the opening event.

The chargers are operated by Giddy Up, a new player in the EV charging landscape, and based in Sacramento.

“We are working on numerous other high-speed community charging hub projects in the Sacramento area,” said Chris Jerome, founder and CEO of Giddy Up.

This project marks the first phase of a larger build-out to include 20 high-speed chargers as the region anticipates a transition among fleets and personal cars to EVs. Several of the new chargers are designed to accommodate heavy-duty vehicles like buses and large trucks.

The utility district is an essential player in the project, which requires enough electricity to power 350 homes. In the coming years, when experts anticipate a million electric vehicles in the Sacramento region, “it’s possible that roughly one in every three kilowatt hours that we generate and deliver as a utility will be used for transportation fuel,” said James Frasher, manager of new business development at SMUD, during a recent panel to discuss the role of electric utilities in the EV transition.

The opening of a new high-speed charging plaza is gaining the attention of not just motorists and fleet operators, said Jerome, but housing developers.

“We have been informed that a major development firm has expressed interest in building a major housing project directly adjacent to the site based partially on the collective appeal of being located next to a rail station and having the infrastructure in place to provide Level 3 charging to all residents at no cost to the developer,” said Jerome in an email. “This project would be a major economic milestone for what has traditionally been an industrial area in the city.”

Using the chargers works much as it does for other charging networks. Drivers can pay with a credit card, as well as download the Giddy Up or EV Gateway app. Charging costs $0.44 per kilowatt, which is similar to other charging networks. Drivers will also soon have the option of enrolling in a subscription plan, with unlimited charging, which could be an attractive alternative for EV owners living in multifamily housing where access to home charging is not always available.

“If we’re going to change the country, we have to focus on changing this area and showing the rest of the country how you do it, and how you do it right,” said Jerome at the facility’s opening.
Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Yreka, Calif.