As part of a network of electric vehicle charging stations between St. Louis and Chicago, a second electric vehicle charging station in Edwardsville is now up and running.
The charging station behind City Hall recently went online. Nissan donated the charger and helped cover installation costs. In 2013, the city installed a charging station at the library.
The Edwardsville City Hall location is one of seven fast-charge stations along the old historic Route 66 that were announced last year by former Gov. Pat Quinn. Other stations were planned in Carlinville, Springfield, Lincoln, Normal, Pontiac, Dwight and Plainfield.
Edwardsville’s station will charge a vehicle with a dead battery in about 60 minutes.
The minimum charge is $1, and it costs $1 per hour to use.
The charging station, which has CHAdeMO and CCS Combo chargers, also is within walking distance of downtown businesses.
“They’re going to be somewhere for an hour,” said Mayor Hal Patton. “It makes sense to be in this downtown environment: Go grab a bite to eat, go shopping. They’re not sitting at an interstate drop off point.”
Only one car can be charged at the station at a time. The new charging station is run through the Greenlots app, which also handles payments for people charging their cars. People can either scan a QR code or scan a card with an RFID chip.
“Pretty much every electric vehicle owner has apps on their phone, where charging stations are at,” said City Engineer Ryan Zwijack. “There’s the Greenlots app, the ChargePoint app, the Federal Highway Administration has a map of where the charging stations are at. You see that map, click on the dot, and see if a station is available, if there’s a car parked here, or the cost per hour.”
Patton said the long-term goal is to have as many charging stations around town as possible, including stations set up by private businesses, in order to encourage people to consider buying electric cars.
“If we have multiple stations around town, it’s more likely others will invest in this technology, and obviously help the environment,” Patton said.
The charger connections are locked inside of the three-and-half foot tall machine. The connections unlock after the user makes a payment to charge his vehicle.
The city itself doesn’t have electric vehicles, but Patton said he would like to purchase them in future budgets for employees who stay in town to carry out city business, such as building inspectors.
“If we could reduce the carbon footprint, reduce the dependency on fossil fuels, it makes a lot of sense,” Patton said.
John VonBokel, of Belleville, owns a Tesla, a California-based company that manufacturers electric cars. He has yet to use the charger in Edwardsville, and would probably need an adapter. However, he said having more places to charge an electric vehicle is good a thing.
“More options is always better,” VonBokel said. “I think it’s important for LEAF owners in that 50- to 100-mile range.” LEAF is an electric car made by Nissan.
Having a network of electric vehicle charging stations is important for people who drive the cars and to help promote the different type of transportation.
“It enables long-distance travel for short-range vehicles and promotes electric travel,” VonBokel said.
He added, the more people who see charging stations, the more comfortable they will be owning an electric vehicle.
“I think it’s good for the overall community,” VonBokel said.