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Getting a charge out of Burbank

Electric car enthusiasts say charging stations will bring them to town to shop.

December 02, 2011|By Maria Hsin, maria.hsin@latimes.com

Tim Hebb lives about two miles from downtown Los Angeles, so charging station locations for his all-electric Nissan Leaf factor in heavily when planning leisure activities to other areas in the region.

The vehicle can travel 75 to 100 miles per charge, but he likes to make sure he has a place to plug in when he travels outside his neighborhood.

In Burbank, two of 11 new charging stations were unveiled on Thursday as part of a program to attract drivers of all-electric and plug-in vehicles and gauge consumer demand.

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Hebb was at the ceremony to celebrate a new charging station outside Sports Chalet, near the East Garage at Burbank Town Center.

“I’m just an EV enthusiast,” he said. “I keep up with where new stations are and was on my way to Alhambra.”

Hebb said that although Burbank is close enough to travel to and return home without recharging, the new cluster of charging stations will influence his choice of shopping, movie-going and other activities.

He cited similar stations in Santa Monica as a prime example of how cities can influence decisions on where to go shopping and spend their money — and that’s exactly what Burbank officials are pushing for.

“Today we celebrate the dedication of 11 electric vehicle charging stations,” Mayor Jess Talamantes said. “Not just one or two — 11.”

Nine of the stations are located downtown.

“We are sending a message to our community and to the Southern California region: Burbank supports electric transportation. Drive your electric vehicle to Burbank, charge your vehicle and enjoy Burbank,” Talamantes said.

The chargers are free through July 1 and Burbank Water and Power — which installed the stations with help from a U.S. Department of Energy grant — is offering a $100 billing credit for home chargers. The majority of the charging stations should be available to the public next week, Burbank Water and Power Marketing Manager Jeanette Meyer said.

Four-year Burbank resident Peter Berg, whose red Leaf was part of the charging demonstration, said in an email that he had approached city officials in January about installing EV charging stations.

“I wanted to show the city and the community that EVs are here and a great option for people,” he said. “Having these charging stations will help consumers more quickly adopt Evs, and also shows that Burbank is a leader when it comes to programs that help our environment.”

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