by Timothy McQuiston Vermont Business Magazine Green Mountain Power today unveiled a new public electric vehicle charging station with two chargers at the MiddleGround complex in Middlesex that is home to Red Hen Bakery, Zoombikes and Nutty Steph’s. The chargers represent the latest in fast-charging technology. One of the two chargers is a Level 3, which will "fill-up" in about 45 minutes. The cost equivalent to the driver is about $1 per gallon of gasoline.
“The new chargers are a great resource available to the public to help create clean and efficient transportation for Vermonters,” said Mary Powell, President and CEO of Green Mountain Power. “Our goal is to help Vermonters save money and reduce fossil fuel use, while providing clean, cost effective and reliable power.”
The great this," Powell said of the Red Hen location, "is that you can go in and eat scones while you're waiting for your charge."
Senator Leahy, Governor Shumlin, GMP CEO Mary Powell and Lise Wexler listen as Don Wexler talks about the new electric vehicle charging station at his Middlesex business complex. Photos by Vermont Business Magazine.
Powell said the goal is to have a charging station about every 50 miles with good access to travel corridors. She said they are looking at installing a station along Route 7 between Burlington and Rutland to enhance GMP's goal of making Rutland the region's "Solar City."
About 75 percent of the state is within GMP's service territory. Powell said there is a minuscule impact on the electric supply and she said even if there were a rapid growth in EVs that there would be little impact in the total electric demand.
GMP now has 10 plug-in electric vehicles in its fleet through its Plug’N Go program and hopes to grow that number in the coming years as more infrastructure is developed to support clean transportation in Vermont. GMP partnered with Don Wexler of Strider Development, who is the property owner of MiddleGround, to install the charging stations.
“This is a great way to help the environment, and also to help businesses attract people to come inside and shop,” said Don Wexler. “We are so pleased to be able to offer this option for customers.”
As of April 2014, according to the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles, there are more than 700 plug-in passenger electric vehicles across Vermont in 130 communities. That number is more than double from a year ago. GMP expects the number of EVs to continue to rise as facilities like the one at MiddleGround come online with new and efficient charging technology.
(The 700 total is as of July 2014 and includes both all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Hybrids that do not plug-in, such as the original Prius, are not included in this number. The top three models are the Toyota Prius Plug-in, the Ford CMax Energi and the Chevrolet Volt – all plug-in hybrids which run on both gasoline and electricity. About 80 percent of Vermont’s plug-in vehicles are plug-in hybrids at this point.)
David Roberts of the Vermont Energy Investment Corp holds the swipe card used to pay for the charge of his Nissan Leaf at the Red Hen charging station.
“One of the biggest challenges in enabling drivers to choose electric vehicles has been the chicken-and-egg problem of establishing a network of charging stations where they are most needed. We are getting that done, and Vermont’s fleet of electric vehicles has grown tremendously in the last two years,” said US Senator Patrick Leahy. “With more, and better, electric car models on the market each year and new charging stations like this one, we are well on our way to meeting the state’s goals to build a strong market for zero emission vehicles... People will buy them if there's a place to charge them.”
Leahy said, "We have the fuel of the future right here."
The governor spoke of EV drivers having "range anxiety," wondering how far they can drive on only an electric charge. He said the greater concern should be "cost anxiety," not only in the price of gasoline but also the cost to the environment.
With this new installation, there are now 33 charging stations across Vermont, a 30 percent increase over the past year, with more planned. This initiative is part of the state’s goal, which GMP fully supports, to create a “green corridor” through Vermont and into Quebec, Canada to give electric vehicle drivers assurance they can charge their vehicles when needed.
“These charging stations are critical to increasing the use of electric vehicles in Vermont and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Governor Peter Shumlin. “The charging stations also provide an important boost to the state’s economy by saving money on gas and keeping dollars that would have been spent on imported oil right here in Vermont.”
One of the charging stations at the MiddleGround complex is a ChargePoint station (level 2) that provides 20 miles of charge per hour. The other is a Fuji DC charger (level 3) that provides approximately 80 percent of a battery charge in 45 minutes. GMP purchased and installed the charging stations for $26,800 and Strider will operate the stations. The charging units are available to the traveling public 24/7. Customers pay $2 an hour for the level 2 charger, or $5 an hour for the level 3 charger, using a credit card.
VERY TOP PHOTO of one of GMP's Chevy Volts.