If you drive a Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt or any Tesla, then Half Moon Bay will soon be a friendlier destination.

Jackhammers and spades went into the ground this week as part of a long-awaited project to install the Coastside’s first-ever, public, electric-car charging station. At a cost of $18,000, the new station will allow up to two electric vehicles to charge while parked downtown. City officials hope to use the new station as part of a pilot program to see if plug-in car owners flock to the area.

“We’re really excited about it. I’m hopeful that this is going to be the beginning of much more,” said Colleen Haupt, the city’s project manager. “It’s an important step toward a sustainable future.”

Relatively few electric vehicles are currently on the road; however, that number is expected to surge in the coming years. The California Air Resources Board is expecting 1.4 million electric and hybrid cars to be on the road by 2025. That amounts to approximately one in seven autos in the state.

To prepare for that rise, many Bay Area cities have been preparing the hookups so these vehicles have a place to recharge. The City Council decided to join the bandwagon last year as it allocated money from the Measure J sales tax increase. Elected leaders directed $50,000 toward the charging stations in the hope of attracting well-heeled electric car drivers to visit the area.

The city is still holding onto the remainder of the money while they wait to see how the first electric-car charger does, Haupt said. City officials have already approached New Leaf and Safeway markets to discuss the possibility of installing more stations in the future, she said.

That would all depend on whether drivers begin using the city’s pilot charger, which should be ready to go later this month. The charging station will be located on Kelly Avenue between two parking spots right next to City Hall. The city has no immediate plans to restrict parking in front of the charger. Anyone can park there, Haupt said, but she urged those with gas-powered vehicles to look elsewhere for a parking spot.

Using the car charger will be a bargain compared to the gas pump. The city plans to offer the first two hours of charging for free. After that, a driver would have to pay between 40 cents and 60 cents per hour.

City officials are hoping to arrange a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the charging station in early February.

(8) comments

Tyler Durden

Yes the City Council should spend more from our general fund to pay for these charging stations that only serve drivers of $100,000+ electric vehicles. These fine people do spend a lot money in our town before driving back to their fine homes. After all, it is our job as taxpayers to subsidize their fine lifestyle.

Jeff Orr

Thank you to the city of Half Moon Bay for investing in EV charging infrastructure at long last! I have visited your beautiful city from Menlo Park several times, and each time I take my LEAF I am always modestly concerned that I won't make it back without issue. This installation definitely makes me more inclined to visit, especially considering the (very) reasonable pricing planned.

I must echo the concerns of other commenters re: signage and enforcement. Without parking restrictions on non-EVs parking in front of the charging station, the station will be very hard to use during normal business hours. In the more "urban" parts of the county, get get people "ICEing" charging stations with their gas cars all the time. Please PLEASE mark the spots for EV charging only, and tow violators!

John Charles Ullom

Why in the world would we not restrict parking at electrical charging stations to EV vehicles? Dumb, dumb, dumb..........dumb.



As you'll see from my blog post attached here, I agree that this is great news for EV drivers, however it is assured to be a failure if the city does not limit the parking to electric vehicles.



One of the reasons HMB has fallen off our list of destinations to show off to visitors is its lack of a charging station. So the news is most welcome. We look forward to spending our money in your fair city even though, being Nissan Leaf drivers, we aren't in the "well heeled" target demographic [smile]

Let me point out that a lack of dedicated (and enforced!) EV-only parking spaces will cause more heartache than benefits as EV visitors are forced to wait out "normal" cars that might as well park elsewhere. (I don't recall parking usually being a bottleneck in downtown HMB.) I urge the city administration to reconsider that decision. Nothing kills tourist buzz as effectively as bad word of mouth from irate visitors.


Sorry if it posted twice. Long-time reader, seldom a poster.


A question and two comments.

Q: Who is the charging station vendor?

Comment 1 : It is against California Vehicle Code to park a non-electric vehicle in a space designated as a charging station. The city should make some plans to tow.

Comment 2: Not all electric vehicle drivers are wealthy. The "well-heeled" comment is uncalled for.


A question and a couple of comment.

Do you know what charging station vendor is being used?

Comment 1: It is a violation of California Vehicle Code Section 22511.1 for a non-electric vehicle to park in a charging station space. The city may not have immediate plans to tow away non-electric vehicles but they should make them.

Comment 2: I do not like the "well-heeled" description. I'm an electric vehicle owner who lives on the coast and I carpool with another. We are just average joes with a long commute and charging stations available at work. Not everyone who drives electric is wealthy.

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