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The ECOtality charging station

Driving through Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood yesterday, I passed by the Propel biodiesel fueling station. I was struck by two things: The high-cost of the fuel, and the fact that there wasn’t a car in sight. At the time of its opening, it marked the first biodiesel fueling station in downtown Seattle. Now, Vulcan, which brought Propel to neighborhood in 2008, is testing another alternative energy source for vehicles in the fast-growing neighborhood.

The real estate arm of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen announced today that it has partnered with ECOtality to bring 24 electric vehicle charging stations to the neighborhood. The two companies have installed the self-service pedestal charging stations in eight residential and commercial buildings in the neighborhood as part of a national program to build out EV charging infrastructure.

Vulcan’s Ada Healey now says that South Lake Union boasts the largest concentration of EV charging stations in the Pacific Northwest.

“We are proud that South Lake Union is one of the greenest neighborhoods in the country and these charging stations are a reflection of the area’s longstanding commitment to sustainability,” Healey said.

For now, it is free for anyone to charge their electric vehicles at the stations. But, over time, a fee may be instituted.

Using ECOtality’s Blink Level 2 Commercial Pedestal Chargers, owners of vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf will gain approximately 11 miles per hour of charging.

Eleven of the stations have been installed at buildings on the campus.

ECOtality is planning to roll out approximately 15,000 charging stations in 18 U.S. cities, with about 1,000 public charging stations coming to the Puget Sound region.

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