(Courtesy photo)

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power announced the expansion of weekend hours and an increase of fast chargers at its Crenshaw Customer Service Center location.

“[The Crenshaw station is] very popular so we want to be able to accommodate folks who use the charging stations and one way we can do that is by expanding the hours,” said LADWP’s Chief Sustainability Officer Nancy Sutley on Tuesday.

In addition to being available to the public on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., the chargers will now be open on the weekends from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. According to a press release, currently there are “(4) 25kW DC Fast Chargers and (16) Level-2 6.6kW chargers at the Crenshaw Customer Service Center parking lot.”

Sutley said throughout California around 10 percent of new cars bought are electric vehicles or plug-in-hybrids.

“We’ve certainly seen a lot of interest and activity around electric vehicles, we have tens of thousands of them here in the city of Los Angeles registered to LA residents,” Sutley said. “We see the automakers are offering more and more electric vehicle models.”

In order to maintain this upsurge of electric vehicle purchases, the LADWP is working with local car dealerships to educate them on the benefits of the cars.

“We’re always looking to see what else we can do to help people who are interested in electric vehicles like find out information about whether or not an electric vehicle makes sense for them,” Sutley said.

The LADWP is also hoping to provide incentives for electric vehicle users in the form of rebate programs. Offered for both residential and commercial use, the programs are aimed at making the chargers available to any Los Angeles resident.

“We’ve really increased the type of incentive we offer and the amount so we’re getting ready to increase for example, if you want to put an electric vehicle charger in your house we’ll give you a rebate that will basically cover the cost of the charger and also the installation,” Sutley said.

On the commercial spectrum, the rebate begins at up $5,000 for a qualified level 2 single-port charger and can go up to as much as $125,000 per charging station for medium and heavy duty electric vehicles.

The Residential Rebate Program offers up to $500 for the purchase of a qualified home electric vehicle charger and an additional $250 for installing a TOU or time-of-use meter for the charger. Still pending approval, the Residential Rebate Program will offer an additional $500 for costs of installation of the electric vehicle charger and $1000 for the installation of the TOU.

The LADWP also offers a Used Rebate Program, an initiative aimed at increasing the purchase of used electric vehicles.

“I think people will feel more comfortable with buying an electric vehicle knowing that no matter where they are in the city they can charge up and we also want to ensure every Angeleno has access to an electric vehicle,” Sutley said.

With the rise of convenient charging, LADWP hopes to educate Los Angeles residents on electric vehicles and the benefits they provide to not only the driver but also the environment.

“[Electric vehicles] are great to drive, they’re quiet and clean, you’re helping the environment, you’re helping yourself and your community by driving a cleaner car,” Sutley said.

The LADWP has worked with LA Metro and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation in order to push for more electric transportation usage in the city.

“We hope to see more and more electric buses and other kinds of heavy duty vehicles like trucks and other things that can run on electricity and put out much less pollution onto the streets of LA and really help deal with climate change as well as our local air pollution problem,” Sutley said.

As for what lays ahead for electric vehicles and charger accessibility, Sutley said the department anticipates a rise in the automobile in the coming years.

“We have goals to get to 10,000 publically accessible chargers by 2022 and 28,000 publically accessible chargers in LA by the time of the 2028 Olympics,” Sutley said.

For now, the LADWP is working on adding additional chargers in their own facilities as well as community spaces for any electric vehicle owner to use.

“We think this is where all vehicles are going to end up in the not too distant future we’re really looking at an electric vehicle future,” Sutley said.