Electric Vehicle Charging

March 25, 2020

Getting Plugged-In at UCSB!

Perhaps you have noticed that a number of electric vehicles (EV) charging stations have been added on campus, in addition to the ChargePoint EV stations that have been in place for a number of years in Structures 10 (near the science buildings), 18 (Mesa Structure), 22 (near the SRB), and Lot 60 at the west end of campus near West Campus Apartments. For charging plug-in electric UCSB vehicles, there are two ChargePoint EV charging stations in Lot 58, adjacent to the Portola Dining Commons loading dock. 

In order to keep up with the charging needs of the ever-increasing number of electric vehicles on campus, “trickle charge” EV charging stations have been added in Structure 10 (3rd floor), and the Mesa Structure (lowest level), as well as in Lot 1 on the east side of campus. A couple have also been added in Structure 50 at San Clemente Villages for those who have gate arm access to that structure. During Winter Quarter 2020 you will also be seeing trickle-chargers added in Structure 22 one floor down from the main entrance.

This means that there are now two ways that EVs can be charged. Before we begin talking about how to charge, let’s establish the fact that in order to charge, you must display a valid parking permit to park – so make sure you have that issue covered before you proceed to charge.

The two options for charging your electric vehicle are with ChargePoint stations, where you can “charge and go” meaning that you must vacate the space upon completion of charging -- or you can try out the trickle charge stations, which take longer to charge your vehicle and allow for you to park all day, as long as you have a valid EV Power Permit whenever you are connected to power. The ChargePoint stations provide up to 6.6 kW/h (kilowatts per hour), while the trickle charges provide up to 1.9kW/h. As the name implies, the trickle chargers take much longer to charge the vehicle, and they offer the added benefit that one has no need to move the vehicle when the charge is complete as long as a valid permit is displayed. 

When using the ChargePoint stations: You may activate the station in a number of ways. First, with a ChargePoint phone app, you only need to hold your phone near the charging station to activate the station. Or you can use a ChargePoint fob requested online or included with some plug-in vehicles. Or you can bypass having an account altogether and use a smartphone with Apple Pay or Google Pay. In much the same way that you can purchase products online by using a guest account, you can activate the station with a call to their number or use Apple pay or Google pay to activate. However, there is an advantage to having a ChargePoint account, as those with the App will be notified once the charge has completed on your vehicle. Since the parking requirement at ChargePoint stations at UCSB is that you must move the vehicle upon completion of charging, this then alleviates the need for you to keep going back to your car to see if it is done charging. These spaces are not designed for you to plug-in and park after the charge is completed – the vehicle MUST be actively charging for you to stay parked in the space and avoid a citation. 

  • ChargePoint Pros: This fast charge option provides up to 25 miles of range per hour so the charging time is considerably less than the trickle charge time.                                                                                       

  • ChargePoint Cons: You must move your car if your vehicle is not actively charging.


When using the trickle charge method: The plug-in charger at the charging station is activated and ready to go. What you must first do is park the vehicle in a trickle charge space and then proceed to the permit dispenser (only the dispensers in Structures 9, 10 and 18 currently sell EV power permits) and purchase the amount of time that most closely coincides with your estimated charging time. Round up because expired EV permits for plugged-in vehicles are citable. Remember, this does not include the cost for parking and these lots are only for faculty and staff permit parking during business hours. Display the permit on your dashboard and plug-in. In Lot 1 and Structure 10, the trickle charge spaces are EV-Available rather than EV- Only. As stated on the signs at the trickle charge stations, we ask non-charging vehicles to use spaces only in the event that all non-charging spaces are taken, to allow for those who want to charge to use the space. 

Little known fact: On the first floor of Structure 10, there are four electrical outlets. With an EV power permit and a parking permit, you may bring your own EV charging cord and plug-in for the day. 

  • Trickle-Charge Pros: With your parking permit and EV charging permit displayed, you are good to go for the day. You are not required to move from the space once your vehicle is done charging – but as stated before, make sure that the EV power permit is active and not expired.                                                   

  • Trickle-Charge Cons: Takes longer to get a full charge – up to 5 miles of range per hour compared to 25 miles of range per hour at ChargePoint.

If you have questions about charging your vehicle at UCSB, please contact James Wagner at Parking Services 805-893-5475 or email James.Wagner@ucsb.edu.

By Laura Hoffman