Office of the Mayor-President


For release: IMMEDIATELY

Release Date: 10/18/2016

City-Parish initiative lets electric car owners charge for free

For more information contact:
Susan Boudreaux, Mayor’s Office: (225) 389-5101
Michelle McCalope, Mayor’s Office: (225) 389-7957

Program begins in downtown with chargers in public parking spaces

Today Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden unveiled a new City-Parish initiative called “Green Park Baton Rouge”, a program that will let drivers of electric cars charge their vehicles for free at prime public parking spots, starting in downtown and spreading to private businesses across the parish.

Electric vehicles parking in metered spots must pay normal parking fees, but may use the charging station for free for up to four hours. Entergy is the lead sponsor of Green Park, providing a $75,000 grant to purchase and install the charging stations and covering the cost of electricity. Holden was joined for the announcement by Phillip May of Entergy, John Davies of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation which helped coordinate the program for the city, Ann Shaneyfelt of Louisiana Clean Fuels, a non-profit organization in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, and Davis Rhorer, Executive Director of the Downtown Development District.

“With more individuals and companies buying electric cars, this will allow Baton Rouge to greatly expand access to charging stations and provide the same convenience we offer to drivers of gas powered autos,” Mayor Holden said. “We welcome these quiet, environmentally friendly electric cars so it just makes sense to accommodate the needs of all types of vehicles on our streets.”

“Entergy is proud to be one of the cleanest power producers in the country,” said May. “These electric charging stations will be beneficial to people who drive electric cars and may even spur others to give them a try. In the long run, it can provide economic benefits for the drivers, as well as environmental benefits for all of us.”

Holden announced the program at the North Boulevard Town Square in downtown Baton Rouge, where the first 10 Green Park spaces will be located. Pointing out that electric cars are no longer an oddity, Holden said price drops have made them affordable to more motorists.

The Foundation and City-Parish officials are talking with private businesses and large institutions about adding Green Park charging stations at work locations. Though still a niche market, sales of electric cars are expected to rise rapidly as manufacturers produce cars that can travel farther without a charge, prices continue to decline and federal and state incentives are often available.

Also at today’s press conference, Bill Deville, CEO of the Capital Area Transit System (CATS), announced the purchase of three electric buses to add to the existing fleet. “Our three new electric buses will not only reduce our emissions, they will also bring new energy to the aging CATS bus fleet,” said Deville. “We are committed to working with our city, state and federal partners to bring efficiency not only to our energy use, but also to our routes and services.”

CATS has been awarded more than $2.3 million by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program to purchase three electric buses and charging systems to support them. CATS will cover 20 percent of the total cost of the project, which will cost more than $2.8 million. The three new buses, which should arrive in Baton Rouge in early 2017, will help support a planned Bus Rapid Transit line on Florida Boulevard.

“Our plan is to use the three electric buses on our busy Florida Boulevard route through a Bus Rapid Transit project that’s being designed to support our rider base and the businesses that depend on CATS for their workforce and to complement the city’s own plans for the corridor,” Deville added.

Holden said automobile dealers are expanding their lines of electric cars, noting that later this year, Chevrolet will sell its new Bolt for $30,000 with a 200-mile range. Late next year, Tesla is expected to deliver its Model 3, a $35,000 sedan with range of more than 200 miles. Advance orders for the Model 3 have exceeded 400,000.

For consumers, electric cars are quieter, friendly to the environment and cheaper to operate. The Nissan Leaf, for instance, gets about 114 miles per gallon of gas equivalent. Electric cars have fewer parts—no transmissions and simple engines, making them less expensive to service.

Green Park will help to overcome another hurdle for electric cars, providing charging stations near where people work. A summer 2016 report by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation–BR CityStats–showed that 39 of EBR residents would be interested in purchasing an electric car if their employer offered charging stations. Ultimately, the City-Parish and its partners in the Green Park Baton Rouge initiative hope to add close to 50 new electric vehicle charging stations throughout the parish at popular destinations and local businesses.

For more information visit: http://www.greenparkbr.com/.
###




###