Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
As a resident of Manteca and driver of an electric vehicle – not a Tesla — I read with great interest your article “Streamlined permit for charging stations” found in the Manteca Bulletin dated August 14, 2017. Nowhere within the city limits of Manteca am I able to use a public charging station to charge my Chevy Spark EV. You referred to the Tesla charging stations located near the Bass Pro shop and the two charging stations at the Transit Station on Moffat Boulevard.
The Tesla charging stations can only service Teslas. The two charging stations at the Transit Station have not been in operation for over two years due to vandalism and it appears there has been no effort to repair and reactivate the charging stations. I have included two photos I took on Aug. 15 to show you what I saw today – the same as what I saw two years ago.
As far as I can tell, the City of Manteca does not have a plan to address the needs of drivers of electric vehicles. I suspect the City Fathers are letting businesses within the City of Manteca deal with the problem of how best to establish an EV charging infrastructure to service the needs of EV drivers in Manteca and those who are passing through and would like to charge their EVs. Nothing appears to be happening.
Does Manteca have a plan to deal with the 21st century?
Apparently it doesn’t given Manteca is in a state that has a goal of 1.5 million zero emission vehicles on the road by 2025.
It does, however, have good intentions and flashes of being cutting edge.
Former Councilman Vince Hernandez pushed hard to get EV charging stations incorporated into plans for the downtown transit station on Moffat Boulevard. As he pointed out, it is the future and Manteca needs to accommodate it.
As the completion of the station neared, the two EV charging stations were installed. Within 24 hours, the charging cables were cut by homeless individuals apparently in search of copper wire. They were replaced two days later only to be cut again.
Back then city personnel said the cables would be kept in the transit office and available when people needed them. Whether that ever was implemented, there certainly are no signs posted saying that is the case. The bottom line, the two EV chargers that weren’t exactly free for the city to install have not been used. No effort has been made to come up with a solution to get around the vandalism.
On Tuesday, the City Council adopted a streamlined permit process for installing EV chargers at residences or elsewhere in the city as is required by state law. Actually, the city was ahead of the curve on this one with the process pretty much in place already.
What about practical planning to prepare for the emerging world of electrical vehicles?
Shouldn’t the city have rules in place requiring the installation of EV charging stations in certain cases?
An obvious one is apartment complexes that exceed a specific threshold when it comes to the number of units.
The private sector for the most part will step up for the traveling public. Tesla, for example, cut a deal with the owners of The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley to place seven charging stations there. It is a solid location for Tesla owners traveling through the Northern San Joaquin Valley, but it also helps serve as a draw for the shopping center.
Some cities are working in partnership with firms to install EV chargers in downtown areas where there aren’t massive strip-style developments. They are either in municipal parking lots or — in some cases — have taken over on-street parking stalls.
The great thing is Manteca was ahead of the curve when it comes to downtown EV charging stations.
The bad thing is they can’t be used.
Manteca Chamber of Commerce used to like calling Manteca the Crossroads of California.
Manteca really is at the crossroads of not just highways but also divergent economies and lifestyles. This is where the Bay Area and Central Valley come together. It’s a place where agriculture, tech paychecks and every expanding distribution and logistics create a unique mix.
This is a place where old school and cutting edge come together.
It may not seem like a big deal but getting the details right is important.
The EV charging stations installed at taxpayer expense that can’t be used is one of those details.