04.28.2010 - by Linda Nicholes
Hooking Up at South Coast Plaza

2010.04.24SCPchargeCrowd

South Coast Plaza, the swanky mega-mall located in Orange County, recently installed a Coulomb network charging station alongside an already-installed Clipper Creek CS-40 charger. Both charging stations are located side-by-side in an underground parking structure beneath the Crate and Barrel Home Store at 3333 Bear Street in Costa Mesa. Mall partner and general manager Anton Segerstrom, who spoke at a ribbon cutting ceremony, plans to install more charging stations as ever more electric vehicles hit the road later this year. This southern California luxury mall is reportedly the very first shopping center in the US to install a ChargePoint networked charging station.

2010.04.24SCPribbonCuttingThe Coulomb charging station was honored, highlighted and flashed impressively during the ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, April 24th. Local officials were joined by actor / environmental and electric vehicle activist Ed Begley, Jr. who congratulated the mall on becoming part of the new Coloumb charging station network and expressed the hope that other malls and businesses will look to South Coast Plaza as a charging station leader and will also plug into a charging station network.

2010.04.24Stef&RaoulMy Tesla roadster, as well as Orange County resident Mark Cross’s roadster, had the privilege of being the two very first electric cars to get a charge out of the Plaza’s new charging station. Enid Joffe of Clean Fuel Connection — which will provide support for the Coulomb charger — plugged MINI E # 205 into the Clipper Creek charger and was later joined by Stefano Paris‘s MINI E # 259. PIA members Doug Korthof and Lisa Rosen parked their legacy 100,000-mile RAV4 EVs near the charging action. PIA board member Richard Kelly with camera in hand and family in tow also joined the celebration.

Clearly, nothing beats the convenience of a public charging station located at or near a mall. It’s a win for the EV-driving public to opportunistically charge while shopping and dining, and it’s an obvious win for retail and restaurant businesses to garner EV drivers’ retail and restaurant dollars. The Coulomb charging station network will be accessible to drivers through a toll-free number on each charging station or by joining a monthly access plan to obtain a ChargePass smart card.

2010.04.24Ed&LindaI should at least mention that drivers charging at a Coulomb charging station will not get a free charging pass in perpetuity and can undoubtedly expect to pay for the privilege and the convenience of plugging into a Coulomb charging station. In answer to my pointed question about the rather paltry 120VAC charging capabilities of the plaza’s new charger, I was assured that the current Coloumb charging station will be upgraded in a few months to a J1772 level 2 cordset.

Posted by Linda Nicholes

Photos by Stefano Paris

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