Tacoma could raise incentives for electric vehicle owners

It could soon be cheaper for drivers to recharge their electric vehicles while doing business with the City of Tacoma.

The City’s Sustainable Tacoma Commission has recommended Tacoma City Council adopt an ordinance that would allow City employees and visitors doing business with the City of Tacoma to charge their electric vehicles at designated City-owned charging stations.

“Currently, the costs to charge at City facilities are not encouraging maximum use and broader purchase and/or leasing of electric vehicles,” wrote City of Tacoma Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability Director Kristin Lynett in a May 6 memo to Tacoma City Manager T. C. Broadnax. “The fees of $1.50 to $6 can be more than the cost of a gallon of gasoline. While truly committed [electric vehicle] drivers will not need the extra incentive, the next tier of potentially interested [electric vehicle] drivers could be motivated to make the switch if they did not have to pay while at City facilities.”

Lynett points to a Washington State law enacted five years ago that allows electric vehicle owners to re-charge their vehicles at state-owned charging stations while doing business with the State of Washington.

“It is in the City’s interest to encourage the use of electric vehicles in order to reduce emissions and provide Tacoma citizens with cleaner air,” added Lynett in the May 6 memo.

The 11-member Sustainable Tacoma Commission was created by Tacoma City Council in 2009 to oversee the implementation of Tacoma’s Climate Action Plan, as well as coordinate, communicate, and encourage public involvement regarding sustainability initiatives.

The City of Tacoma offers 12 electric vehicle charging stations in five locations for public use: Pacific Plaza Garage; Museum of Glass; ‘A’ Street Garage; Greater Tacoma Convention Center; and Cheney Stadium.

Tacoma City Council’s Infrastructure, Planning, and Sustainability Committee is scheduled to discuss the issue during a meeting on Weds., May 14, at 4:30 p.m., at Tacoma Municipal Building North, 733 Market St., Room 16, in downtown Tacoma. Copies of the agenda and meeting materials are available online here.

An electric vehicle charging station at A Street Garage in downtown Tacoma. (PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

An electric vehicle charging station at A Street Garage in downtown Tacoma. (PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of electric vehicles in Tacoma, Pierce County, and Washington State, click on the following links: