Mall Installs Charging Units for Electric Cars

Next time you head to The Oaks mall, make sure to charge it--your electric car, that is.

The shopping center has installed two free charging stations for vehicles such as the EV1. "It paves the way for more drivers to choose clean electric cars, which will help improve the air we breathe," said Thousand Oaks Mayor Mike Markey.

The stations are located near The Oaks' entrance by the movie theaters and Favoritz restaurant. The mall does not foresee imposing any time limit on vehicle charging.

At last count, about 300 motorists in Southern California drive electric cars. One of the city's fleet cars is an EV1, and City Hall is home to three charging stations.

"I think there are still some misconceptions about electric vehicles--some people think they're not safe or could electrocute them," said Grahame Watts, an environmental programs analyst with the city of Thousand Oaks. "That's not possible and not true. The technology is really catching up with the needs of the public."

Electric vehicles are touted as a major way to reduce air pollution because they are 97% cleaner than cars powered by gasoline. The Ventura County Air Pollution Control District and General Motors, which makes the EV1, chipped in to pay for the new chargers at The Oaks. Purchase and installation cost about $16,500.

The Camarillo Premium Outlets and the County Government Center may be getting charging centers soon, Watts said.

Other local charging stations include:

* Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.

* The Costco stores at 2001 E. Ventura Blvd., Oxnard; 2660 Park Center Drive, Simi Valley; and 5700 Lindero Canyon Road, Westlake Village.

* The Oxnard Hilton, 600 Esplanade Drive.

* The General Motors Building, 515 Marin St., Thousand Oaks.

* The Saturn dealerships at 1450 Auto Center Drive, Oxnard, and 3440 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks.

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