TEMPE, AZ  – ECOtality Inc., which specializes in electric transportation and storage technologies, on June 6 celebrated the company’s Blink Electric Vehicle (EV) Pedestal Charging Station installations in the Phoenix metro area.

Local leaders, EV enthusiasts and ECOtality representatives gathered outside Monti’s La Casa Vieja at a new publicly available charging station there. The landmark restaurant is located in the heart of Tempe and is the oldest continuously occupied structure in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

As manager of the EV Project, ECOtality is overseeing installation of about 14,000 commercial and residential charging stations to help establish a nationwide EV infrastructure.

As manager of the EV Project, ECOtality is overseeing installation of about 14,000 commercial and residential charging stations to help establish a nationwide EV infrastructure.

“We used to hitch horses here in the 1800s, and now we can charge up electric vehicles while diners enjoy Monti’s Steakhouse,” said Michael Monti, owner of Monti’s. “Offering EV charging to guests at Monti’s is just a new facet of the spirit of hospitality that we have offered here since 1871. We are excited to usher in a new age in Downtown Tempe.”

ECOtality is the project manager of the EV Project and will oversee the installation of approximately 14,000 commercial and residential charging stations in 18 major cities and metropolitan areas in six states and the District of Columbia. The project will provide an EV infrastructure to support the deployment of 8,300 EVs. The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy through a federal stimulus grant, made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

ECOtality began installations of its Blink Level 2 Residential Charging Stations in EV Project regions nationwide in December 2010, and since then has completed more than 1,200 installations across the country. The company aims to install approximately 920 publicly available Level 2 charging stations in and around the Phoenix and Maricopa County region, as well as approximately 40 commercial Blink DC Fast Chargers. ECOtality will also install 230 publicly available Level 2 Blink charging stations in the greater Tucson region, and 10 Blink DC Fast Chargers, by the end of the year.

“Consumer demand for EVs has never been higher, and with hundreds of EVs on the road we’ve reached a turning point for the industry,” said Jonathan Read, CEO of ECOtality. “The Blink Charging Station at Monti’s — and the commercial Blink charging stations that are appearing in EV Project markets nationwide — underscores our commitment to smart EV deployment and placing charging stations at locations that fit the lifestyle of EV drivers. Together with our partners, we have an opportunity to build the rich public charging infrastructure that will drive EV adoption into the mainstream, and we look forward to working with many other businesses throughout Arizona.”

The event marked the culmination of nearly a year and a half of planning. The Blink charging stations will be installed throughout the Phoenix area and Tucson, effectively electrifying the I-10 corridor.

“Commercial charging stations are a vital part of developing a comprehensive public infrastructure for electric vehicle technology,” said Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Chair Tom Schoaf, mayor of Litchfield Park. “It is only by integrating electric vehicle infrastructure into our overall community fabric that we will realize the full potential of electric vehicle technology, and the completion of the first commercial charging station is an important step in paving the way for use of electric vehicles throughout the Valley and the Sun Corridor.”

ECOtality is currently in discussions with public and private property owners for installations of public charging stations, and has partnered with national retailers including Fred Meyer, Macy’s, BP/Arco, Cracker Barrel and Best Buy, as well as leading commercial real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle. The company is also working with other EV Project stakeholders, including APS, to help locate charging stations and work through logistics.

“Availability in popular areas and ease of use for our customers will be the key factors that build momentum for electric vehicles in Arizona. The Blink charging stations at Monti’s get the Metro Phoenix EV infrastructure off to a great start,” said Tony Tewelis, manager of smart grid programs for APS.