EV pilot program ends

A pilot program which brought about 150 electric car charging stations to Tucson has ended.

The question now is what to do with the stations, what does the future hold and what are the options.

Blink, a division of the company which got things started, with the program hosts at the RTA/PAG offices downtown,

The two meetings, each of which ran about two hours, we're intended to give the hosts a list of options.

They range from doing nothing to writing new contracts to ending the program altogether.

No one thought that was an alternative and it's not being explored.

People who use them can be relieved about that.

But that doesn't mean there won't be some inconvenience.

"I think we maybe put too many Level II stations in," says Colleen Crowninshield, of Tucson Clean Cities, which brought the pilot program to Tucson. "We're really going to have to look at that, figure out which ones haven't been used."

Those will be moved or eliminated which may cause some electric car owners a bit of a panic in an emergency.

Mike Mennenger, owner of two gas stations in Tucson and Casa Grande says of the pilot program "I'm disappointed."

That's because the electric car business has not taken off as much as he hoped.

His EV stations at I-10 and Speedway don't work these days because the company which was supposed to take care of them filed for bankruptcy.

That has him concerned about the future.

"They've got to justify that investment is going to have a return," he says.

No one thinks the technology is going away.

Even though the city and country contracts have expired and none is being rewritten right now, both expressed an interest in what they call "an emerging technology."

What seems to be saving the program is the fact 80% of the electric car owners "fill up" at home.

"It's peace of mind knowing the infrastructure is out there," says Crowninshield.