First EV Charging Station Opens

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

June 16, 2023

Morro Bay got its first multiple station commercial electric vehicle charging station, and if you’re hungry, you can charge your electric vehicle while you satisfy a “Mac Attack.”

A 3-unit EV quick-charging station recently opened in the parking lot of McDonald’s on Quintana Road, eating up a few parking spaces for the restaurant and becoming the first of its kind in Morro Bay. The EV station was put in by Albertson’s Market, according to a sign on the 16 amp electrical box. There’s a 24-hour emergency phone number displayed, too.

Community Development Director, Scot Graham, said it didn’t require a planning permit and so it was never brought before the planning commission or city council for review or approval. There wasn’t even a report done on it.

The station utilizes a computer touch screen and credit card reader to charge for the electricity and appears to run through a membership program. 

It’s just the first of several EV stations that are in the works including some nine — several of which will be the fast-charging variety — at the 83-room Hampton Inn nearing completion now on Atascadero Road. Those EV chargers were part of the original development proposal and were reviewed and approved by the City as part of the overall project.

Another EV charger is installed at the rear of the Natural Healing Center located at the corner of Napa Avenue and Morro Bay Boulevard and had been the only one in town.

The first ever, commercial EV charger was installed at the former visitor’s center on Harbor Street at Piney Way. But that one’s gone now. Graham said the company that installed and owned it went out of business and it was removed some time ago. 

As for the future, the City is looking into putting in some EV chargers.

“The City,” Graham told Estero Bay News, “is looking at putting charging stations in at Del Mar Park and down on the Embarcadero in the parking lots north of Beach Street on the west side of the street.” The area being looked at is between Harbor Hut and GAFCo.

At McDonald’s the new chargers ate up a few of the parking spaces but considering the entire shopping center, there should still be plenty of spaces left for folks to satisfy their own McDonald’s cravings.

Ironically, back in the early 2000s, the shopping center wanted to build a gas station on a large vacant pad fronting Quintana and the City rejected the proposal.

And while the McDonald’s EV station is the town’s first, it likely won’t be the last by a long shot, as the State currently is mandating that all new cars sold in 2035 must be so-called “zero emissions” vehicles, which includes battery electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cell electric vehicles. 

Convenience would seem to be an issue, as to fully charge an EV using a quick charger system takes about 30 minutes and units that you simply plug into a 110-volt electrical outlet like in your garage, take many hours to fully charge a car’s battery. Whereas, fueling up an old gas Chevy takes about 10 minutes.

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