Duff Mitchell gives an update to electric vehicles usage in Juneau to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce during their weekly luncheon at the Moose Lodge on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Duff Mitchell gives an update to electric vehicles usage in Juneau to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce during their weekly luncheon at the Moose Lodge on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Juneau commission urges changes in electric car charging, parking

Sustainability group suggests time limits, paying for charging

There was no altar or pulpit, and the Juneau Moose Lodge is hardly a church, but Duff Mitchell did his best to preach the gospel of the electric car to attendees of Thursday’s Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Mitchell, chairman of the Juneau Commission on Sustainability, talked for an hour about the burgeoning number of electric cars in Juneau and the recommendations the commission is making to improve public support for those vehicles.

“Things are changing, and they’re changing rapidly,” Mitchell said. “More charging stations are going to be needed.”

More than that, the city needs to change the way it manages its existing charging stations, he said.

The commission, which held public meetings and collected comments, has compiled a list of recommendations in that regard.

Among the recommendations are changes in parking ordinances and ordinances governing the use of the city’s free charging stations.

While the city last year began limiting charging at the Marine Parking Garage to two hours, Mitchell said the commission is recommending further limits and the collection of a “fair rate … per use” from the city’s nine electric vehicle chargers.

That could be collected by credit card or a coin-operated box, he said.

“I’m not saying this is what’s happening; I’m just saying this is what our research and our hours … have come up for our city leaders,” he said.

There also would be tougher limits on stays in parking spots designated for chargers. Parking in a spot with a fast-charging “Level 3” charger would be limited to 30 minutes. Violators could receive a parking ticket.

Any recommendations would have to go through the city’s public works committee and the Assembly before being implemented.

Much of Mitchell’s presentation was devoted to explaining the way electric vehicle use has grown in the capital city. When Mitchell bought his Nissan Leaf in 2013, he said there were perhaps only six in the capital city. There are now more than 300, plus a dozen Tesla electric vehicles and additional models from other manufacturers.

Juneau’s high gasoline prices and low (by Alaska standards) electric prices make the economics pencil out, he said, angling his sermon toward the interests of the fiscally minded Chamber audience.

According to estimates provided by Mitchell, a prototypical electric car driving 10,000 miles per year will cost about $300-$400 in electricity. An average gasoline-powered vehicle driving the same distance will cost about $1,000 more in Juneau, he said.

“You save the equivalent of a thousand-dollar Permanent Fund Dividend a year (with an electric car),” he said.

Mitchell was asked why the city should pay for electric car chargers. After all, the city doesn’t buy gasoline for cars that use combustion engines.

“Public chargers provide a public safety service,” he said, explaining that someone might be stranded if they run out of electricity while on the road.

In addition, while more than 80 percent of electric car charging happens at home, people in apartments don’t always have access to places for home charging.

Furthermore, he said, older electric vehicles like his don’t have the range for a long round trip on the CBJ’s road network. A drive from the Mendenhall Valley to Eaglecrest Ski Area might not leave a driver with enough electricity to get home. That’s why there’s a charging station there.

Mitchell said the city’s fifth annual electric vehicle roundup will take place at 11 a.m. Sept. 8 in the parking lot next to Coast Guard Station Juneau. Every year since 2013, the city’s electric vehicles have gathered for a group photo to illustrate their spread. The gathering has already outgrown the Mendenhall Wetlands wayside and the Savikko Park parking lot.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at jbrooks@juneauempire.com or 523-2258.


More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of July 6

Here’s what to expect this week.

Looking like a gray turtle, an automated mower cuts grass in front of Thunder Mountain Middle School with boxes stacked in a classroom window beyond. (Laurie Craig / Juneau Empire)
Random adventures of robo-mowers…now performing again this summer at Juneau’s schools

Four pillow-sized bots resembling turtles with tiny razor-sharp blades provide class for the grass.

Disney Williams (right) orders coffee from Lorelai Bingham from the Flying Squirrel coffee stand at Juneau International Airport on Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
New coffee stand at airport stirs up heated dispute about having proper authorization to operate

Fans of Flying Squirrel Espresso praise location, hours; officials say FAA violations could be costly.

Nano Brooks and Emily Mesch file for candidacy on Friday at the City and Borough of Juneau Municipal Clerk’s office in City Hall. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
City and Borough of Juneau regular municipal election candidate filing period opens

So far, most vie for Assembly District 2 seat — mayor, Board of Education, and District 1 also open.

Killah Priest performs at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center in December 2019. (Photo courtesy of Lance Mitchell)
Killah Priest sets new record with Alaskan artists on ‘Killah Borealis’

Wu-Tang Clan rapper seeks to lift Alaskan voices and culture in his return performance to Juneau

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, July 10, 2024

For Wednesday, July 10 Attempt to Serve At 10:06 a.m. on Wednesday,… Continue reading

Commercial fishing boats are lined up at the dock at Seward’s harbor on June 22. Federal grants totaling a bit over $5 million have been awarded to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute to help Alaskans sell more fish to more diverse groups of consumers. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Federal grants to state agency aim to expand markets for Alaska seafood

More than $5M to help ASMI comes after Gov. Dunleavy vetoed $10M for agency.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy holds up the omnibus crime bill, House Bill 66, after signing it at a ceremony Thursday at the Department of Public Safety’s aircraft hangar at Lake Hood in Anchorage. At his side are Sandy Snodgrass, whose 22-year-old son died in 2021 from a fentanyl overdose, and Angela Harris, who was stabbed in 2022 by a mentally disturbed man at the public library in Anchorage and injured so badly that she now uses a wheelchair. Snodgrass and Harris advocated for provisions in the bill.Behind them are legislators, law enforcement officers and others. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Goals for new Alaska crime law range from harsher penalties for drug dealers to reducing recidivism

Some celebrate major progress on state’s thorniest crime issues while others criticize the methods.

Most Read