SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – One of the nation’s largest public fast-charging stations debuted at Valley Fair Mall in San Jose on Wednesday.
Electrify America built the station at the corner of Forest Avenue and Monroe Street, on the corner of one of the mall’s main entrances. The open-air design, with angular white lines, and green and yellow accents, is reminiscent of old fueling stations and drive-ins.READ MORE: KPIX Reporters Remember Slain Security Guard Kevin Nishita; 'Just the Kindest Man'
“Sort of a modern-day version of a gas station, right? For electric vehicles. And we wanted to provide that sort of prominent location and beacon for the community that it’s going to serve,” said Shelly Schembre, Senior Vice President of Shopping Center Management, at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.
The new station offers a total of 14 bays, 12 of which have 150kWh charging capacity, and two bays with a capacity of 350kWh.
Charging is powered by solar panels, and San Jose Clean Energy, the city-operated supplier that draws from renewable sources. Tesla owners can charge, but must have adapters for the CCS plug.
Guest and “Pass” Members pay 43 cents per kWh, and “Pass+” members pay 31 cents per kWh. For comparison, PG&E’s residential Tiered Rate Plan charges 26, 33, and 41 cents for Tiers 1, 2 and 3, respectively.
The Valley Fair project marks the Virginia company’s 200th site in California, bringing the total number of individual chargers to 830 in the state.
“Range anxiety is definitely going away,” said Christina Slayton, Manager of Site Acquisition and Portfolio Management at Electrify America.READ MORE: UPDATE: News Crew Security Guard Shot in Oakland Dies From Injuries; Photo of Suspect Vehicle Released
As the site went live, customers received push alerts. Yvette Alfaro was the first to utilize the chargers.
As a super commuter, Alfaro makes the 180 mile roundtrip everyday from Sacramento to her workplace at Valley Medical Center. Using the 350kWh bay, Alfaro charged her new Volkswagen on a single lunch break. On a conventional Level 2 charger, charging would have taken most of the workday.
“It usually takes about five hours. Here, it’s less than half an hour,” said Alfaro.
Silicon Valley has the highest per capita adoption rate for electrical vehicles in the nation, according to a 2019 study.
Swedish electric car maker Polestar, and Newark-based Lucid, both have showrooms in the mall.
“With the service here, and being able to make it a one-stop for whatever your shopping needs are, while you’re charging, is a win-win,” said Schembre.
Joe Flores, Deputy Director of of Account Management and Marketing for the City of San Jose Community Energy Department, that operates San Jose Clean Energy, says large, highly visible charging stations help alleviate worry and anxiety of customers switching to electrical vehicles.MORE NEWS: Burlingame Shoppers Show Up for Small Business Saturday
“I think this inspires electric car sales,” said Flores. “It’s gonna be so competitive with what you see right now with gasoline-fueled vehicles that is going to be the smart choice, it’s going to be the natural choice, it’s going to be the easy choice to make.”