Seattle City Council approves increase of EV stations with state goals on the horizon

Aug 15, 2023, 8:34 PM | Updated: Aug 16, 2023, 1:50 pm

EV stations...

US President Joe Biden's administration unveiled new proposed auto emissions rules, aiming to accelerate the electric vehicle transition with a target of two-thirds of the new US car market by 2032. (Photo by Frederic J. Brown via Getty Images)

(Photo by Frederic J. Brown via Getty Images)

The Seattle City Council unanimously passed a bill Tuesday set to increase the number of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in Seattle.

The legislation, sponsored by Councilmember Sara Nelson, will now allow Seattle City Light to lease private property to install and operate city-owned public EV charging stations. The legislation will also allow private companies to lease City Light-owned property to install and operate EV charging stations.

According to data from the state of Washington, there are more than 75,000 electric vehicles on the road in King County alone. By 2030, two out of every three new cars being sold in the state must be zero-emission vehicles.

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City Light estimated that this legislation will allow for at least 10 to 20 additional charging stations to be installed over the next two years. A map of the proposed locations for the charging stations can be found on City Light’s website.

Past action on EV charging stations

As of April, the cost to charge an electric car with a City Light Level 2 charger is $0.21 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). The Level 2 charger can provide 30 miles of range per hour of charge.

In April, City Lights began installing 31 electric vehicle charging stations around Seattle as The Washington Department of Ecology announced in late 2022 that it had updated its Clean Vehicles Program “to require that all new, light-duty vehicles sold in Washington meet zero-emission vehicle standards by 2035.”

“Washingtonians are embracing the transition from cars powered by fossil fuels – there are already more than 100,000 electric vehicles on our roads,” said Laura Watson, the director of the Washington Department of Ecology, in a 2022 news release. “We’ve seen a significant number of new, zero-emission vehicles come on the market in recent years, and we are confident that the technology, production capacity, and charging infrastructure needed to make this shift will be there.”

As of April, the cost to charge an electric car with a City Light Level 2 charger is $0.21 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). The Level 2 charger can provide 30 miles of range per hour of charge.

Both Washington and the federal government are planning to offer incentives for drivers to switch to electric and other zero-emission vehicles. New zero-emission vehicles purchased in Washington for up to $45,000 and used zero-emission vehicles purchased for up to $30,000 are at least partially exempt from state sales taxes — sometimes fully, depending on certain benchmarks.

Additionally, starting in 2023, the federal Inflation Reduction Act will offer consumers a tax credit of up to $4,000 towards purchasing a used EV and up to $7,500 towards the cost of a new EV.

More on electric vehicles: Ford to build $3.5B electric vehicle battery plant in Michigan

By 2030, the Seattle Transportation Electrification Blueprint calls for:

  • 100% of shared mobility to be zero emissions
  • 90% of all personal trips to be zero emissions
  • 30% of goods delivery to be zero emissions
  • 100% of the City’s vehicle fleet to be fossil-fuel free
  • One or more “Green and Healthy Streets” in Seattle
  • Electrical infrastructure required to stay ahead of transportation electrification adoption to be installed and operational

Healthy Streets, which started during the COVID-19 pandemic, are open for people walking, rolling, biking, and playing, and closed to pass-through traffic.

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Seattle City Council approves increase of EV stations with state goals on the horizon