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Running Low on Volts? It’s ‘Free February’ at Virginia Mason
Three Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Now On Line at Baroness Hotel Lot
SEATTLE - (Jan. 31, 2012) - The growing number of drivers who own plug-in electric vehicles (EV) now have a new place to charge up, and for the month of February, it's free!
The area's first hospital-based electric vehicle charging stations went on line earlier this month at a Virginia Mason parking lot on Terry Avenue between Boren Avenue and Spring Street next to the Baroness Hotel. The project was financed in part through Virginia Mason's participation in the EV Project, a federally funded initiative that is installing charging stations in 18 major U.S. cities. The project is managed by ECOtality, a clean technology company headquartered in San Francisco.
The Virginia Mason charging stations are available to the public and can be used by any EV automobile. According to the Center for Automotive Research, nearly 3,000 new electric vehicles are expected to be sold in Washington in 2012, with another nearly 1,200 vehicles joining state, county, and local government and utility fleets.
Virginia Mason's participation in the EV Project is part of its environmental stewardship initiative, EnviroMason, which provides the framework for making unique energy and waste management decisions. "We are very excited to partner with ECOtality to offer these charging stations as part of that commitment, so we thought we would celebrate by giving EV owners a chance to charge up for free to mark our first full month of service," said Joe Sirlin, director of Environmental Sustainability.
The self-serve charging stations are fully lighted, have touch screens and are safe to use in wet conditions. They offer variable length charges to allow customers to "top off" their vehicle, with a maximum charge and parking time of four hours. Charging status messages can be delivered to a user's smart phone.
Both parking and charging fees will apply beginning March 1. The EV charging stations at Virginia Mason are connected to the Blink network. Owners can use their Blink Card to activate the charging systems. EV owners on other networks can have the stations activated by the parking attendant.
Eventually the lot will be home to an EV model Zipcar, which already keeps a gasoline-powered car on Virginia Mason's Seattle Main Campus for business and personal use by staff members. Zipcar has made a national commitment to adding EV models to its fleet.
"We have addressed single-occupancy commuting at Virginia Mason on many fronts, including the creation of a successful bike club last year," says Mike Meany, director, Parking & Commuter Services. "Making vehicle charging stations available to the public, patients and staff is a tremendous leap forward in our effort to reduce the environmental impact of commuting."
EnviroMason began in 2006 as an integrated approach to sustainability that is both a cost savings and preserves resources. Virginia Mason's recycling and composting programs alone have reduced water usage by 75 percent and removed more than 425 tons of material from the waste stream annually. EnviroMason's commuter and biking programs provide secure bike storage and shower facilities for those who ride to work. To encourage the use of public transportation, Virginia Mason subsidizes 75 percent of the cost of public transportation for employees.
About Virginia Mason
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit comprehensive regional health care system in Seattle that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 440 physicians with a 336-bed acute-care hospital. Virginia Mason operates a network of clinics throughout the Puget Sound area, and Bailey-Boushay House, a skilled-nursing facility and chronic care management program for people with HIV/AIDS. The medical center is affiliated with Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, internationally recognized in autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason is known for applying manufacturing principles to health care to improve quality and patient safety. For more information, visit VirginiaMason.org or Facebook.com/VMcares or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter.
ECOtality, Inc. is a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies. Through innovation, acquisitions and strategic partnerships, ECOtality accelerates the market applicability of advanced electric technologies to replace carbon-based fuels. For more information on ECOtality, Inc., please visit www.ecotality.com.
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