Electric Cars Will Charge Up In Barnstable
By: Laura M. Reckford
Need to fill up your car? That will be about $3 at the nearest charging station.
In just four years, by the year 2015, there are expected to be over one million electric vehicles on the road.
Through a successful grant application, Barnstable will be one of three towns in the region and 25 across the state to have electric charging stations to power up those new vehicles.
The charging stations will be located at Barnstable High School, at Barnstable Town Hall, at the North Street Comfort Station, and at the Barnstable County Complex on Route 6A in Barnstable Village.
Richard Elrick, the town of Barnstable’s Energy Coordinator, explained how the grant will work at last week’s meeting of the Barnstable Town Council.
He said the sites were chosen for their accessibility for the public and also their proximity to power that can be used for the stations.
All four charging stations are expected to be installed this spring.
It will take about seven hours to charge an electric vehicle to 80 percent capacity, Mr. Elrick said.
That means that at the sites at town hall and the high school, a town employee or student could plug in their car and have it charged by the end of their work or school day.
Others could stop in to get a partial charge.
The cost of fully charging an electric vehicle is about $1.50 to $3, Mr. Elrick said.
Smart phone applications, or apps, will soon be available so travelers can easily check the location of the nearest charging station, Mr. Elrick said, adding that a fully charged electric car can travel about 100 miles before needing a re-charge.
While there are just two electric vehicles on the market now, the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf, there are expected to be 11 new models introduced within the next year. “This is just the beginning of the technology,” Mr. Elrick said.
Town officials say the grant will support a policy the town has had in place for more than 10 years: to reduce its reliance on fossil fuel-based energy, implement energy conservation, and increase the use of renewable energy.
The goal of the policy, Mr. Elrick said, is to be “greener” for a healthier environment; and to reduce, or at least control, some of the volatility of energy costs.
Transportation is responsible for over 26 percent of greenhouse gases in Massachusetts, he said.
After hearing Mr. Elrick’s explanation of the project, the town council voted to accept the grant of four charging stations plus $4,000 for installation costs from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Resources.
The vote was 7 to 5, with Town Council President Frederick Chirigotis of Centerville, Vice President Janice L. Barton of Marstons Mills, Janet Joakim of Centerville, J. Gregory Milne of Hyannis, James M. Tinsley Jr. of Hyannis, Richard G. Barry of Cotuit, and Thomas Rugo of Centerville voting in favor.
Town Councilors John T. Norman of Marstons Mills, Ann B. Canedy of Cummaquid, James H. Crocker Jr. of Osterville, James F. Munafo Jr. of Hyannis and Henry C. Farnham of West Barnstable voted against it.
Mr. Norman listed several reasons for his opposition.
He said he was concerned that the town could be held liable if there was an accident at one of the stations. “What if someone gets electrocuted?” he asked.
He was also concerned about accessibility of the high school station because it would invite the general public, including people with criminal records, onto the school campus.
He said the town should not be getting into the business of providing charges for cars. “It should be a private company, like a gas station,” he said.
Mr. Elrick said the high school was comfortable receiving the charging station and is looking at the station as an educational opportunity.
He also said the charging stations are designed not to spark and will automatically shut off.
Mr. Elrick said now that the council has accepted the grant, site assessments are being done on the proposed locations.
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