Want an electric car — but fear your car will run out of juice and leave you stranded? Electric car enthusiasts will assure you that an overnight charge at home’s plenty of go for the average commuter and in-city driver, but cautious Angelenos got an extra jolt of assurance yesterday, thanks to the locally-famous LACarGuy. Drive your 2010 model electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle in to LACarGuy’s Toyota of Hollywood or Toyota of Santa Monica, and you can plug in — free of charge — at the dealership’s electric vehicle charging station.
That’s right — Angelenos got the very first open-access electric charging stations in the U.S., when actor Ed Begley, Jr. plugged in a plug-in Prius for the first ceremonial charge at Toyota of Hollywood yesterday. And you too can do as Ed did — simply by stopping by and plugging your plug-in or EV into either of the two Level 2 SAE J-1772 chargers in an electric emergency.
What are the chances you’ll be close enough to Toyota of Hollywood or Toyota of Santa Monica to take advantage of these charging stations when your car’s about to run out of juice? Well, that would depend on how often you’re driving in Hollywood or Santa Monica. But rest assured that more charging stations are coming — at least to Santa Monica. LACarGuy promises to add charging stations at Lexus Santa Monica and Fisker Santa Monica soon.
Why’s LACarGuy doing this? And does an actual LACarGuy exist? Yes, he does — and his name’s Mike Sullivan, president of LACarGuy. Back in July, I asked Mike about his plans to install these chargers. Here’s what he said:
We thought it was unfair to only sell a product. We thought you had to be involved in the infrastructure, and changing people’s driving habits. And if you only sell something, you don’t really effect change.
So I bought seven chargers this week and we’re installing them next week. Two at Toyota Santa Monica, two at Toyota Hollywood, one at Lexus Santa Monica, one at Fisker Santa Monica, and one at my house. So now, we’re going to open those up not only to our clients, but anybody who needs a charge. So we’ll have the ability for someone who buys a Nissan to stop by and come by and have a cup of coffee and visit for an hour, and get at least enough charge to go drive their 20, 30, 40 miles, whatever their car takes to get back home.
I think it’s just one of those little things, candidly, that we have to do to truly allow people to have the ability to change. You can’t make it difficult for people. Even if they like it, they can afford the car, you still have to make it easy for them to do it, to live it.
If those new public chargers make you more interested in getting a plug-in or electric car, you can check out the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, and other electricity-sipping cars at the upcoming 2010 LA Auto Show.
Photo of Mike Sullivan, President of LAcarGUY, with actor Ed Begley, Jr. at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the electric vehicle charging station at Toyota of Hollywood (Credit: Julie C. May)