SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica City Council approved measures to improve electric charging stations with more advanced technology for electric vehicles on Tuesday, January 14. An overstay charge for exceeding time limits at charging stations will be implemented to discourage drivers from leaving their electric vehicles in charging spaces for longer than needed.

After a 10-minute grace period, drivers will be charged $1 per minute for staying beyond the posted time limit. The maximum charge is set at $5 which is equivalent to standard parking overstay citations. Drivers will be notified of the charge by signage at the stations and through text notifications when they begin a charging session.

Council directed staff to include a user fee amount of per kWh used from the charge of the stations. The kilowatt hour (kWh) is a unit of energy equal to 3.6 megajoules. If energy is transmitted or used at a constant rate of power over a period of time, the total energy in kWh is equal to the power in kilowatts multiplied by the time in hours.

The user fee and overstay charge were recommendations from the resident Electric Vehicles Subcommittee. When sufficient revenues become available, the city council directed staff to prioritize investments in new charger installations.

Approximately half of the city of Santa Monica’s public charging stations are inter-networked and utilize the ChargePoint software. The ChargePoint software has the ability to alert drivers of charge level, local station availability, expired times, and to collect payment.

The Santa Monica City Council voted to upgrade outdated, non-networked chargers to create a consistent user experience across the system over the next one to two years.