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Curbside EV Charging Becomes a Reality

Seattle City Light has 25 public Level 2 curbside electric vehicle (EV) charging stations throughout the City of Seattle. These charging stations provide the public with much needed access to Level 2 EV charging for residents who can’t use off-street parking to charge their vehicles.

How does curbside charging work?

Anyone who drives an EV can park on the street next to the charger while charging their vehicle. The chargers are open to the public, available on a first-come, first-served basis, and can’t be reserved. EV chargers are frequently used for many hours at a time, such as when a car is parked overnight at home or while the driver is running errands or at work.

We have three different styles of charging stations located throughout Seattle. Some are at street level on pedestals or attached to steel poles. Others may be mounted about one story up in the air on wooden poles.

Watch City Light’s Senior Capital Projects Coordinator, Jacob Orenberg, demonstrate how easy it is to use a curbside charger.

Why curbside?

Seattle is densely populated. Over half of our customers rent their homes—mostly in multifamily dwellings. This concentration of residents causes many Seattle residents to use street parking near their homes. Older single-family homes, apartments, condominiums, and houseboats frequently do not have access to off-street parking like a driveway, garage, or parking lot. This makes EV charging difficult when parking on the street.

This project directly support the Transportation Electrification Strategic Investment Plan. It also increases equitable access to transportation electrification for multifamily residents, particularly those in underserved and underrepresented communities.

How were the locations selected?

In the summer of 2022, we asked residents to submit requests for where they would like to see curbside charging. We received and vetted a whopping 1,800 requests. A panel of subject matter experts from City Light and Seattle Department of Transportation reviewed each request based on location, number of requests in a given area, availability of infrastructure, and property type. Once selected, the neighbors in and around the charging sites were notified allowing them to give their feedback if needed. To see where the chargers are location, visit our public charging infrastructure map.

How much does it cost?

Drivers pay a per kilowatt-hour (kWh) fee to use the chargers. The current cost to charge at a City Light Level 2 charger is $0.21 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).One kWh provides a typical EV with enough energy to travel over three miles.

What about parking enforcement?

Users must obey the parking limits as posted or risk getting a ticket from a parking enforcement officer. Don’t forget to move your vehicle once you’ve completed your charge. Since these are shared resources, we ask that users take this into consideration and be courteous to fellow EV drivers and neighbors.

What’s next?

We plan to complete the remaining six charging stations that are part of this initial pilot project. After that, we will evaluate each location’s usage before deciding how to proceed in the future. In the meantime, we’d like to hear your suggestions for a future EV charging location.  

By helping to increase charging infrastructure throughout our service area, we hope to see more drivers embracing our energy future and making the switch to electric vehicles.