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Novato City Council to soon mark the end of free electric vehicle recharging

Novato’s electric car drivers must find a way to readjust their budget since things are about to change. After all, its City Council, via unanimous voting, announced charging fees at their electric vehicle recharging stations. The city has 12 charging stations, and since 2013 when they were constructed, the city council has not claimed any payments. The free charge’s main reason was to motivate people to invest in electric vehicle use back then when people rarely went for them.

The determination to promote the transition to clean energy is still intact. However, the current circumstances demand a change in strategy, no doubt. This change comes with Novato City Council‘s intentions to replace at least eight older charging stations. Also, Novato is planning on adding more charging locations. In the recent announcement via Gretchen Schubeck, Novato Sustainability Coordinator, we have learned of their new plans.

Novato City plans to replace some of the older charging stations reaching the end of their life cycle. He also claims that they are still working on providing the best services for the people, but they need money to achieve their goal.

Starting from March 1st, 2021, the electric vehicle charging fees run up to 25 cents for each Kilowatt per hour. The first-hour charge is free and with a maximum charging time of four hours. After the charging time is over, the customers have at most thirty minutes to unplug their vehicles. When the thirty minutes are over, there are additional charges of $1 for every fifteen minutes, known as idle fee with a fee cap of $50.

The charging plan is a recommendation of city staff who had no free hour of charging. For compensation reasons, the idling fee came into action. It is an excellent plan whose expectation runs up to $47,000 annually. With the rise of four other stations that recently opened in the Hill Recreation Center, the annual cost will rise from $22,000 to $37,500. Not to mention, eight of the older stations are nearing the end of their life cycle and needs replacement.

Even with the Marin Clean Energy and the Transportation Authority of Marin, there are still no adequate funds to replace the older stations. Mayor Prom Tem Eric Lucan suggested the first hour free to motivate citizens to switch to electric vehicles.

There were various reactions from the council people of Novato City with the new fees schedule. Adam McGill, the city manager, also stated regarding the issues with claims that they can always revisit the fees schedule to improve it further. In addition to that, this new plan will help in the city’s financial issues.

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