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L.A. Auto Show: Mayor Villaraigosa promises to make L.A. homes electric car-ready in under seven days

November 18, 2010 | 11:45 am

Mayor green car-1

The city of Los Angeles will be able to make homes electric-car ready in less than a week, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a speech Thursday morning at the L.A. Auto Show.

"To make it easy and convenient, we're streamlining the process to get set-up with home charging kits in under seven days, from permit to plug-in," Villaraigosa said.

The ability to get chargers installed in L.A. homes quickly and easily is a key factor in making the city the "electric car capital of the world," he said.

PHOTO GALLERY: LA Auto Show concept cars

"Manufacturers here today have made it clear: The Los Angeles region is an early launch market for electric vehicle deployment," Villaraigosa said. "So, today, we're making it clear as well. We will be ready."

Villaraigosa said getting chargers into home will compliment EV chargers already installed in public places such as the Los Angeles Convention Center and L.A. International Airport.

Many more public chargers will be installed throughout the city over the next two years, Villaraigosa said, though he did not provide details on how many and where.

The process of getting electric vehicle chargers into homes is handled by the L.A. Department of Water and Power and the Department of Building and Safety and includes issuing permits for the chargers, inspecting a home to make sure its electrical system can support a charger and meter installations.

Villaraigosa said DWP will launch a customer service phone line Dec. 1 for Angelenos looking to make their homes electric-vehicle ready. The EV Customer Connect line, as the mayor called it, can be reached at (800) 342-5397.

Permits for home electric-vehicle chargers can be obtained at https://www.permitla.org and the city will inspect the installation within 24 hours of request, the mayor said.

Once installation of the EV charger is complete, the DWP will install a new meter in a customer's home. 

The DWP will also offer a discount energy rate of 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour for those who charge their electric vehicles overnight, Villaraigosa said.

Southern California Edison also plans to offer electric car owners discounts on the power they use to charge their vehicles.

Los Angeles has an advantage over every other city in the U.S. to quickly embrace electric vehicles, Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner said. Beutner is also the interim general manager of the DWP.

"We're the only city in this country that owns our utility and can control our permitting apparatus to make it happen, and our pledge today is to make it happen within a week," Beutner said. "This is the single most important thing we can do as a city to enable the auto industry of the future, which is the electric vehicle."

To prepare for the advent of electric vehicles, the DPW has upgraded about half of its nearly 15,000 transformers and about 40% of its power poles, he said in an earlier interview with The Times.

“The long-term consequence of this is pretty positive. Every combustion engine car we can take off the road is a good thing,” Beutner said.

Also, Los Angeles will use federal dollars to provide up to a $2,500 subsidy to pay for up to 5,000 residents in install home charging stations.

Beutner said proof of the city's support for the auto industry can be found in the opening or expansion of five dealerships in Los Angeles over the last five months: Chrysler and BYD downtown, two dealerships in the Valley and one in Mid-City.

"Dealers are the single largest contributor of sales tax revenue to the city, which is the single largest component of our general fund, in excess of $250 million," he said. "In addition, they pay over $600 million in wages to our community. It's a vital industry and its an industry we have to support."

MORE L.A. AUTO SHOW:

Volvo C30 goes electric

Chevy Volt wins '11 Green Car of the Year Award

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles and Jerry Hirsch

Photo: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa sits in the Chevrolet Volt electric plug-in hybrid, among a throng of photogrophers, at the L.A. Auto Show. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

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