By Luke Netzley
Pasadena Weekly Deputy Editor


Well-dressed leaders and business owners met on the southwestern corner of E. Glenarm Street and the 110 freeway to celebrate the grand opening of an electric vehicle fast-charging plaza — the second of its kind in Pasadena — on Nov. 3.

“The Arroyo EV Charging Depot here represents accessibility for a variety of different users,” said Gurcharan Bawa, general manager of Pasadena Water and Power. “It provides a convenient charging location for residents and a large number of visitors and employees who travel to Pasadena every day.”

The project was designed by a team from Stantec, which oversaw the installation of DC Fast Chargers that drastically minimize charging time by getting drivers back on the road with a charge of at least 80% in approximately 30 minutes or less.

“Growing the EV infrastructure helps with the community and state sustainability and clean air goals,” said Wicus Postma, a sector leader in Stantec’s Energy and Resources group. “Projects like these are tied to the future of transportation, and we’re excited to continue supporting the city of Pasadena.”

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the station, which was co-developed by Tesla and PWP, brought together stakeholders in the world of electric energy as well as representatives from the offices of Sen. Diane Feinstein, Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Adam Schiff, Sen. Anthony J. Portantino, Assembly Member Chris Holden and Supervisor Kathryn Barger to discuss the nationwide shift from a reliance on fossil fuels to the increased use of more renewable, sustainable and clean energy.

“As a city, we have a long history of policy initiatives that support sustainability and combat climate change,” Pasadena City Manager Steve Mermell said. “Through energy efficiency and decarbonizing our power supply, Pasadena Water and Power has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by about 43% as compared to 1990 levels.”

According to Mermell, PWP is committed to generating 60% of the city’s power from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal by the year 2030. However, the installation of the Arroyo EV Charging Depot marks a new and increasingly adopted strategy in the fight against climate change. 

“Electric transportation is the most effective means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California because the transportation sector accounts for 46% of all emissions,” Mermell said. 

“The choices we make today will create a better future.”

The statistic led to Pasadena Water and Power’s decision to convert its code enforcement team’s fleet and the building and fire inspectors into electric vehicles, and to encourage Pasadena residents to do the same.

“It’s a self-fulfilling spiral up now,” described Mike Calise, president of the Americas for energy powerhouse Tritium.

“You put these chargers in, more people will adopt these vehicles because of the chargers. As more people adopt these vehicles, more demand will be put on us and Tesla to put in more chargers. The city of Pasadena has plans of putting in more chargers and plans to expand right here as soon as possible.” 

During his speech, Calise pointed to the corner opposite from the plaza, where a 76 station advertised gasoline at $5 a gallon, before revealing his ambition for the future of Tritium and the country as a whole.

“Our business is not done until we replace 250 million to 275 million fossil fuel vehicles on American roads today, and this is the first step.”

According to reports, electric vehicle sales have surged dramatically in 2021 in each of the world’s largest auto markets, namely the United States, Europe and China, increasing by nearly 160% in the first half of the year. 

“To have a station like this in the center of Pasadena sends an important message for our city and for the residents around our city,” Mayor Victor Gordo said. “Pasadena continues to be at the leading edge, encouraging other communities to do the right thing for the right reasons.”

The station will be open 24 hours a day and offer parking and high-speed charging to all electric vehicles free of charge.