Currently, there are 891 electronic vehicles registered in the state of Vermont. That number has increased from only 88 registered EVs in the state in 2012, and Green Mountain Power (GMP) is looking to add EV charging stations throughout the state to reduce range anxiety, or drivers' fear that they won't have enough juice in their car to make it from one destination to the next.
At their meeting on Tuesday, June 9, Jen Cortez, innovation champion at GMP, talked with the Warren Select Board about the town's options for installing a public electronic vehicle (EV) charging station.
Because most people who own electronic vehicles have charging stations in their homes, public charging stations "are not typically accommodating the locals," Cortez said. Instead, installing public EV charging stations accommodates tourists driving through town. "You're enticing them to stay a little longer," Cortez told the board.
While charging, tourists "may run to the store to grab a soda or a bag of chips, or if they may need to waste 45 minutes to an hour to get some charge they may sit down and have a salad, a sandwich, have lunch or have dinner," Cortez said.
To install an EV charging station with GMP, the host—in this case the town of Warren—is responsible for paying to bring power from the electric panel to the station, which Cortez said can cost between $4,000 and $8,000. After that, GMP pays for the rest of the installation and is responsible for all operation and maintenance fees.
If Warren were to install one port, it would pay a monthly host fee of $39 to GMP. It would also cover the cost of electricity, which Cortez said averages about $25 per month at a well-used station, but for that it would be reimbursed by the power company each year.
After hearing the costs, which could be about $5,000 up front and about $500 a year total, "I just don't see the high demand for it," select board member Bob Ackland said of EV charging stations.
Indeed, "I see one station as symbolic," select board member Randy Graves said, but he sees a network of stations "as a really important feature for The Valley in marketing itself."
Already, there is one public EV charging station at Village Grocery in Waitsfield, two Tesla charging stations at West Hill House Bed & Breakfast in Warren and Sugarbush Resort is planning on installing an EV charging station up on the mountain. There is also an EV charging station at Red Hen Baking Company in Middlesex.
In Warren, the town has looked into several locations for an EV charging station, including behind The Warren Store, in the municipal parking lot, at the park and ride and at East Warren Community Market.
According to Cortez, the best spot in terms of safety and convenience would be behind The Warren Store, because people could shop and eat while they wait for their car to charge, but the board pointed out that that's privately owned land. Moving forward, they agreed to gather more information about the cost of getting power to an EV charging station at each potential location.
"To me, this sounds like something we'd have to budget for, first off," select board chair Andy Cunningham said. "I think it's something that, if I read it correctly ... people in the town want," he said, "so I think we should consider it and figure out the best spot for it."