Pasadena CA, future home to the largest public charging site in Western USA

Pasadena CA, future home to the largest public charging site in Western USA

The Pasadena City Council voted on Monday, March 11 to join with Tesla in building the largest fast-charging site for electric vehicles in the western United States.

By a 7-0 vote, the Council authorized a five-year agreement with the Silicon Valley electric car maker that creates 44 public-access fast-chargers on the roof level of the Marengo parking garage at 155 E. Green St.

Under the agreement to be executed by the city manager, Tesla would pay for 24 “super chargers” for Tesla vehicles only. In addition, the company would install the electric infrastructure to enable Pasadena Water and Power to add 20 fast-charging stations for non-Tesla vehicles. The wiring would save the city $140,000 in capital costs.

The city would get its first public Tesla charging station and increase its number of direct current fast chargers from one to 21. The only city DCFC is located in the Del Mar Gold Line station, and it is the most-used charging station in the city, said Marie Otto, PWP spokesperson.

A fast charger or “Level 3” charger can provide 80 percent of a long-range electric car’s power in 20-30 minutes – about as long as it takes to fill up a large car with gasoline. Tesla, maker of three models of all-electric cars that travel more than 200 miles on a single charge, views its investment in DCFC technology as hand-in-glove with sales of its electric vehicles. Tesla has been the top seller of electric cars in California since November.

Typically, only long-range EVs can handle a fast-charger. Other long-range EVs include: Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-Tron, Hyundai Kona EV and Kia Niro EV.

By providing fast chargers, cities can attract zero-emission vehicles that do not add to smog and greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Pasadena says the Marengo Charging Plaza will help it attain its climate action plan goals, while providing more business to both Paseo Colorado and Old Pasadena retail areas.

Joel Levin, executive director of Plug-In America, an L.A-based group advocating for more public plugs, said Tesla and Pasadena are creating a new model by locating so many chargers in one site in an urban setting. This will benefit not just retailers but EV owners who live in downtown condos and townhomes and do not have charging stations at home.

“This is a new model. Putting in charging station groupings in denser areas for people with longer-range vehicles who live in apartments,” Levin said on Monday. “They can charge there once a week and they are good. It is really cutting edge.”

OCModel3 | March 12, 2019

This is a win-win for all involved. I know the area well and it is a treasure trove of options for people to park and charge their EVs. I am presuming they will not charge to park your car while charging--that would be an added benefit. B

Assuming Tesla uses the new V3 chargers, the Tesla owners can go downstairs and grab a cup of coffee while they charge, and the other EV owners can go see a 3-hour movie at the ArcLight or go shopping!

lilbean | March 12, 2019

I bet the driver service drivers are excited. Too many Teslas in the area. It will be Fountain Valley 2.0

charles.a.braun | March 12, 2019

For those familiar with Pasadena, I can tell you that there will also be an additional 20 L2 chargers installed in the Holly Street Parging Garage (Corner of Holly and Arroyo Pkwy) where there are already 15 installed to bring that total to 25.

Also parkinig spots on the entire North side of Holly Street in front of the YMCA building across from City Hall will have 25 chargers installed.

beaver | March 12, 2019

Good news, but given how slow Pasadena moves usually there will be larger sites on west coast.

charles.a.braun | March 12, 2019

@epostby - The plan is to have all these online by June 30th (End of fiscal year). Who knows if that will happen, but that is the plan.

PhillyGal | March 12, 2019

Awesome news and I'm very sad that my wonderful City had a lot of EV momentum in 2017 into early 2018 but that it stalled completely after a policy paper was submitted.

This model sounds like it would be great here too or anywhere else for that matter.

badaman | March 12, 2019

All the great steak houses are within walking distance in Pasadena :)

Earl and Nagin ... | March 12, 2019

This is awesome although about 8 years late to do me much good. I lived at the Paseo Colorado (attached to this garage) for a few months and had to use a 120v plug on the top floor of them Holly Street garage mentioned by @charles.a.braun for my 80 mile r/t commute. Luckily I could charge at work so I only needed to charge enough to get to work but it was difficult at times when I got home late and low on battery.
Good to see things looking up from my scavenging to literally dozens of charging options.
Pasadena, CA always has been one of the most EV friendly cities in the world. I've been concerned since most of their many public Level 2 charging stations are usually in use, meaning visitors who need to charge can't count on being able to. Its great to see that they're accelerating even faster.
It will be great to see if they come up with any metrics about how much business this brings into the city.

Earl and Nagin ... | March 12, 2019

I should note that this won't be "the largest public charging site in Western USA" though. That distinction goes to a place only about 1.8 miles away at Cal Tech.
There are 88 level 2 chargers in one of the Cal Tech parking garages. This includes one CHAdeMO charger with at CHAdeMO2Tesla adapter cabled to it to enable Model S/X DC Fast charging. It is a thing of beauty to any EV aficionado (
This site will probably have the most DC Fast charging stations in the Western US though.
Pasadena could easily lead the world in overall public charging stations, at least per capita.
Considering the modern EV (General Motor's EV1) was originally designed by a team dominated by Cal Tech graduates in the Pasadena area, I guess it is only natural that Pasadena should lead.

Earl and Nagin ... | March 12, 2019

One more tidbit: The last time I parked at this new garage, one could get your parking ticket validated for 90 minutes free. There is a parking validator in the tunnel leading to parking under Porto Alegre restaurant, behind the bandstand at the plaza level that you can use without having to go into a store.

charles.a.braun | March 12, 2019

@Earl and Nagin - Sadly Porto Alegre is no longer around. That was my favorite Brazilian Churrascaria

Earl and Nagin ... | March 12, 2019

Too bad.
Is the validator still there?

charles.a.braun | March 12, 2019

Probably but I have not parked in that garage for 7 years.

beaver | March 12, 2019

On the Brasilian restaurants..

The owners of Porto Alegre opened up a smaller place “Cafe Chimichurri” on Glenarm and Arroyo that is very good. If you want good churrasco head downtown to Fogo.

July 2019 would be awesome for an open date, I doubt it will be V3 superchargera though as it is still in beta and Musk said they would prioritize putting them in long haul road trip locations.

charles.a.braun | March 12, 2019

Not a fan of Fogo. I hit up Texas de Brazil now when I am in the mood for endless meat.

As for the Superchargers, I just had a moment to look at and based on the details, it would appear that these will be Urban Superchargers so 72kW max pull.

Also I speaking with some city folk that are involved in the backend networking aspect of the project, it looks like the go live date is scheduled for 3rd Quarter so sometime this summer.

Earl and Nagin ... | September 4, 2019

Pasadena, CA folks:
Construction appears to have started on the Pasadena Supercharger and DC Fast Charge complex.