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More 411 on owning an EV
Recently, Cheryl Schmitt, transportation planner for the Santa Cruz public works department, wrote a guest column about her adventures in cutting her lifeline to gasoline-powered vehicles and attaching it instead to a plug-in electric Think City car. Readers have written to her wanting to know more. Here's what transpired: Q: Are you affected by Think City's bankruptcy and the closing of its USA plant? More generally, what kind of repair and service have you needed, and where in the area can EVs of all kinds be serviced? A: “I purchased my Think at Mission Valley Ford in San Jose. It is warrantied for three years, 30,000 miles and will be serviced in San Jose. It is a quality-built car with very nice components. I am on the steering committee of the Monterey Bay Electric Vehicle Alliance, which is a good source of local information for anyone interested in EVs. I joined the Electric Auto Association's Central Coast Chapter and that puts me in touch with all the local EV owners. They are a huge source of information and support. Also, the Legislative Director of Plug-In America lives in Aptos, so we are very well-connected EV-wise here in Santa Cruz. That was one important factor that helped me make my decision, that there would be plenty of people to help me should I run into difficulty. The Think people and Mission Valley Ford have been extremely helpful. They organized a Think Owners Club which meets at the Auto Training Shop at De Anza College. I encourage you to look at all of these organizations' websites.” Q: What dealers in the area sell EVs so we can buy local? A: “The Nissan dealer here in Santa Cruz sells the Leaf and the Chevy dealer in Watsonville sells the Volt. There is a good list of EVs on the Plug-In America website and I believe you can shop for used EVs on the EAA website. I know of a Tesla for sale if you're interested!” Q: Does the city or county of Santa Cruz offer any credits or rebates toward the purchase of an EV, home charging station or residential solar power generation? The federal and state tax credits are important but is there anything local? A: “The City/County does not offer additional incentives to the State/Federal incentives for electric vehicles. Not sure about solar. You should also check the Ecology Action website as they have secured a lot of grant funding through the years. The Think came with a 110v charger that I use at home.” Q: How many free public charging locations are there in SC now? You wrote about more coming; how many and where? Is there an app for finding them? Do they work for all kinds of EVs, e.g. Leaf, Focus, Volt, etc.? A: “Good websites for locating public chargers are Recargo.com and PlugShare.com. Users post cost information and photos. Some private homes in locations without public chargers offer the ability to charge at their home. We're a very helpful community! The new EVs all use the same plug except the Tesla, which works with an adapter to the standardized J1772 plug. You need an access card for most of the public chargers and every brand has their own card. In the City of Santa Cruz we are installing open access chargers that don't require an access card. We currently have chargers in the Soquel/Front Garage and are going out to bid soon to install more chargers in our downtown parking lots and one near the wharf. Stay tuned!” Learn more at http://www.4evriders.org/2012/04/usa-earth-day-special-deal-on-new-electric-cars/.