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Seattle offers new incentives to urge residents to buy electric cars

Seattle city leaders unveiled two high-speed electric vehicle charging stations on Beacon Hill on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, as part of an effort to urge residents to switch from gas to electric cars. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE - Seattle city leaders unveiled two high-speed electric vehicle charging stations on Beacon Hill on Tuesday.

The stations are part of the city’s “Drive Clean Seattle” initiative to reduce carbon emissions in the coming years. Mayor Jenny Durkan said they’re the first of many stations that will be run by Seattle City Light.

“This is the first of many stations that we will be building through the City Light program,” Durkan said.

The stations can charge an electric car in roughly 20 minutes.

“This is just the start,” Durkan said. “We will try to have electrification throughout the city so that our city vehicles, our buses, our taxis, our share rides and people’s personal vehicles can shift over from carbon to electric.”

Angela Castañeda, of the Beacon Hill Merchants Association, said that Southeast Seattle has long been lacking any help for people with electric cars.

“I can say that up until today Southeast Seattle has been a charging station desert,” Castañeda said during the Mayor’s news conference.

Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien, who has been part of Seattle’s climate change initiative, said Tuesday that the more than a dozen other City Light charging stations will soon be across the city.

“The City has already made the commitment that by the year 2030 30 percent of the vehicles in our city will be electric vehicles,” O’Brien said. It’s great for the air we breathe, it’s great for the climate, it’s great for the cost of living because it’s an affordable way to get around the city.”

Durkan, in a news release Tuesday, announced a number of climate change efforts she is backing this week. Including a tour of a solar project at Harborivew Medical Center and a tour of what her office calls “one of the largest indoor electric vehicle charging installations in the country.”

The city has installed 188 charging stations at the Seattle Municipal Tour, a high-rise home to dozens of city departments.

“This is just a down-payment,” Durkan said. “We’re going to be working with private industry and others to build out the infrastructure. It will not just be taxpayers.”

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