Pittsburgh Parking Authority garages will see nearly double the number of electric vehicle charging stations through a gift from Duquesne Light Co.
The utility company announced Sept. 12 it would give the authority eight new stations, capable of charging two vehicles simultaneously. Duquesne Light made the announcement during a downtown “electric lunch” to commemorate National Drive Electric Week.
Parking Authority Executive Director David Onorato said the authority now has 11 stations, nine at the First Avenue Garage and two at the Grant Street Transportation Center, both downtown, and plans to equip all of its garages with chargers over the next five to 10 years. He said the chargers are in use up 85-95% of the time.
“We’re working on plans now to install the new EV charging stations donated by Duquesne Light,” he said. “They will be installed at both our Smithfield-Liberty Garage and Third Avenue Garage. Each location is getting four dual-unit charging stations.”
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Campbell Hawkins, Duquesne Light’s vice president of customer service and the owner of a new electric SUV, said electric vehicles are growing in popularity and the company wants to be in position to accommodate them.
“We think over the next 20 years there’s going to be 100,000 vehicles in our territory, so its important for us to think about the infrastructure needed to support that growth in our market and working with all the partners mentioned here today to make it easy to do business with us and make it easy to own an electric vehicle,” he said.
Local car dealers had 15 models of electric vehicles on display and offered free test drives for visitors at the event. Vendors also offered free rides on electric bikes and scooters.
“We’re here with one thing in mind, and that is to get more electrical vehicles on the road in the Pittsburgh region,” said Sarah Olexsak, Duquesne Light’s manager of transportation electrification.
She said gasoline in the Pittsburgh region is selling for $2.90 per gallon on average. The equivalent cost to operate an electric vehicle would be $1.30 per gallon, she said.
Karina Ricks, Pittsburgh’s director of mobility and infrastructure, said the event underscores Mayor Bill Peduto’s promise to have a fossil fuel-free fleet by 2030. Pittsburgh earlier this year purchased five electric charging stations to power its small fleet of electric vehicles. At the time, the city had four battery-operated Chevrolet Bolts with six more on order.
“It’s not just about motorized vehicles that we’re pushing the bounds on,” Ricks said. “We’re really looking at all forms of mobility and how can we encourage more electrification and more renewable energy in the other ways that we move around the city.”