Los Angeles museums offer free electric car charge stations

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Kia Soul compact SUV has become very popular. It's a small and useful car wrapped up in a funky shape, but the newest one looks and sounds a little different.

It's the Kia Soul EV, a fully-battery-powered electric plug-in vehicle. The Soul is among the roomier electrics and can go up to 100 miles between charges. The base price is $33,700 before the $7,500 federal tax credit are factored in.

As the number of EV's on the road slowly grows, so does the number of places to plug them in.

"We have a lot of staff. We have many visitors we see coming in with electric vehicles, and we really wanted to be able to be welcoming to them here," said Bob Combs, director of security at the Getty Center.

The museum recently expanded its EV charging spaces and now has 24 in total. There are eight more at the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.

Charging stations at museums are actually a good fit.

"Usually, our length of stay is about three to four hours, so it really matches up well with a typical visit," Combs said.

At the 240-volt power level, most electric cars can be fully charged in about that length of time.

The chargers also provide peace of mind for people who'd like to do more weekend journeys in their electric cars, but might be worried about making it home. Public charging stations are popping up in more and more places.

Most of them require an access card and an account that charges your credit card a small fee for each charge. But the stations at The Getty Center are free because they're sponsored.

A program called Adopt a Charger has partnered with the Getty. People still have to pay to park, but the charge is free.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Wilshire Boulevard also has free charging for EV's too, thanks to the Adopt a Charger program.

So far, electric cars are just a trickle in the river of cars in Southern California. Nissan just celebrated selling its 75,000 Leaf in the U.S. since the car first went on sale four years ago.

By contrast, Nissan sells more than four times that number of Altimas every year.

Still, for those who have gone electric, or are considering it, knowing a free top-off while enjoying a museum visit can be thought of as a win-win.

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