MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) Caltrans said the first solar-powered direct current fast-charging stations for electric vehicles in the country have been installed in Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties.
Three were installed at the Camp Roberts rest areas off Highway 101 in Monterey County and the Shandon Rest Area near Highway 46 East.
Caltrans said the areas were chosen to encourage longer drives in electric vehicles in rural areas.
"With over 650,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road in California, the installation of these stations at strategic locations along the state highway system will allow the public to travel with greater ease, convenience and zero tail-pipe emissions," said Caltrans District 5 Sustainability Manager Aileen Loe.
The charging stations are powered by a combination of sun-tracking solar power generation with battery storage to provide energy, according to Caltrans. The charging is free in 30-minute increments. Tesla drivers can use the stations if they bring an adapter as well.
Caltrans said the system also generates and stores electricity that emergency responders can use for power in case of an earthquake, wildfire or other disaster.
The Monterey Bay Air Resources District funded the Camp Roberts facility by contributing $1.4 million, which includes long-term system maintenance.
"MBARD is pleased to partner with Caltrans District 5 on this unique electric vehicle infrastructure project which makes DC charging available at the Camp Roberts and Shandon Rest Areas. These strategic locations on US 101 and Hwy. 46 East fill a gap in the network of charging stations along these important corridors. By funding the installation of fast charging stations, MBARD promotes the adoption of fully electric vehicles," said MBARD Air Pollution Control Officer Richard A. Stedman.
The Shandon Rest Area station was funded with contributions from the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District.