Grants, Pilot Projects Offer Low-Cost Electric Vehicle Charging Options

By Naomi Millàn, Senior Editor  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Plugging Into Electric Vehicle ChargingPt. 2: This PagePt. 3: Managing Electric Vehicle Charging Stations is Balancing ActPt. 4: Electric Vehicle Charging Station Checklist

Another low-risk way for facility managers to enter into EV infrastructure is as part of a pilot program. One company that received DOE grant money is deploying infrastructure in markets in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Texas, Tennessee and Washington, D.C. The two-year pilot of The EV Project focuses on Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf drivers, providing free charging at stations in public settings in exchange for usage data. Facilities hosting the stations receive free units, an allowance towards installation costs and free management of the program. Both the City of Wilsonville, Ore., and Vanderbilt University Medical Center are among the organizations that signed up to host stations at their facilities.

Wilsonville is bisected by I-5, a main artery between Canada and Mexico. It's also halfway between downtown Portland and downtown Salem, making installing two charging stations at city hall a logical choice, says Stephan Lashbrook, assistant community development director with the city. "We could play an increasingly important role for vehicles moving north and south, and between the state capital and Portland," he says.

As a university and the largest medical center in Tennessee, Vanderbilt University Medical Center was very attractive to the program. "We have a large group of people in the targeted demographic," says Gary Streaty, director, parking and transportation services at Vanderbilt. "We have a lot of people that are willing to experiment and try new things." Under the pilot program, four Level 2 stations have been installed, with a potential for nine total if the usage increases.

After Purdue University received DOE grants for education and training on Smart Grid and EV charging stations, it got a double windfall. GE donated eight stations to the school and a local contractor volunteered its services to install them. The first three were instantly in use. "There's usually somebody in all of them," says Holly Alexander, parking manager at Purdue. In the newest station, there was a car plugged in before the station was even announced to the campus.

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  posted on 11/11/2011   Article Use Policy

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