Personal Climate Action: Creating A Community Electric Vehicle Charging Station

Personal Climate Action: Creating A Community Electric Vehicle Charging Station

At Sun Path, we consider ourselves very lucky to have some truly wonderful clients and neighbors, and recently we chatted with Michael Truog about an inspiring home solar-powered community project we installed for him at his West Seattle home.  

Michael has for many years been involved with the Climate Reality project, a non-profit initiative founded by Al Gore to educate and inspire people to understand and take personal, localized action against climate change.  Having always resonated strongly with the saying that while talk is cheap, action is priceless, Michael helped to found the Seattle chapter of the Climate Reality project.  During this time, he also participated in several climate-focused political initiatives, and doubled down on his personal efforts in becoming more carbon neutral by installing a solar panel system on his home, and purchasing an electric vehicle.  But this particular passion project started with a bet and a promise to a friend- that Michael would install a free community electric vehicle charger station at his home if his friend would purchase an electric vehicle.  Within this bet and promise however was a larger vision: to inspire as many neighbors and members of his community to consider purchasing electric cars, and to increase the number of charging stations in his area in order to promote EV adoption on a larger scale.  

While using the special apps like Plugshare for finding local Seattle EV charging stations, Michael noticed that there was an obvious lack in West Seattle. Those that were in place charged about $2/hour for approximately 40 miles.  At this rate, it would take about 8 hours for most vehicles to receive a full charge, creating wait times for people wishing to use the same station. Most people at home charge their electric vehicles at this same rate, since owners typically plug in to standard 110 volt outlets.  Relying on the electrical expertise of Sun Path, Michael made sure that his EV charging station was a 220 volt system, which charges vehicles 6 times faster than most public and private stations. In this way he figures he will be able to offer charging to more people and at a faster and more convenient rate.

Michael’s project is of course quite generous in spirit- but having done the math, he realized that after factoring in solar system rebates and incentives and the low cost of his own solar home system, his free charging system will not actually cost him very much to maintain over the long term.  So far the charging station has not only served the electric vehicle charging needs of his neighbors and those who find the Seattle EV station via Plugshare and similar apps it is listed on, but it has sparked some great conversations on electric vehicles and going solar with his friends and neighbors.  Michael hopes to see more shared and free-to-all community EV charging stations pop up all over Seattle, installed not only by private citizens but perhaps churches and other community-based organizations and businesses.  


We are thrilled to be involved with such a forward-thinking passion project and we hope that Michael’s example will lead others down the path towards personal and individual climate action.