electric chargers

The Rush City Council is considering applying to East Central Energy’s electric vehicle charging station program to receive equipment and installation near City Park and the downtown area.

During the Rush City Council meeting on Dec. 28, City Administrator Amy Mell explained that ECE is giving out six grants for an electric vehicle charging station to be installed in six different areas.

“We’re seeing a lot of interest in car-charging and we’re seeing some on the residential side in homes,” said John Bosman, business accounts specialist of ECE. “But we also thought it would be good, because this is designed more as a destination-type program … If there’s an event going on, or if there’s just an area where people like to shop or whatever, that somebody would bring their electric vehicle up, and they wouldn’t have to worry about finding a place to plug in if they wanted to come to that community.”

The grant is for the electric vehicle charging equipment, Bosman said. He added that ECE is offering government entities an opportunity to apply for the equipment. Having such equipment can attract owners of electric vehicles to visit places such as Rush City from the metro area, he said.

“We just thought it would be good for the community,” Bosman said about ECE’s philosophy for providing electricity for the communities they serve. “It’s an economic development tool for the community, and we thought it fits our mission to, you know, working with communities, and obviously, it’s in our field.”

The program encourages the use of electric vehicles, Bosman said. As more people buy electric cars, ECE wants them to feel comfortable driving to areas they serve, he said.

Currently, there is an electric vehicle charging station in Cambridge, Isanti and North Branch, but ECE wants to add more in areas that don’t have one such as Rush City.

During the meeting, the council requested more information about how much it would cost to have the electric company they contract with install the equipment before they decide to take any action in regard to applying for the program.

In the case that the city does decide to apply for the program and can install the equipment, it is likely that the city would have to pay for electric vehicles’ use of the station, Mell said. The estimate that Bosman provided was $0.66 per hour electric vehicle charge, she said.

“But there is the option of having a credit card reader for people to actually pay,” Mell said. “But then that would be something we would have to install and pay for installation. (Bosman) said most cars today would probably charge two to four hours in a public lot. Range per hour of charge is in the 30-to-40-mile area for most electric vehicles.”

The council has until the end of January to apply for the program.

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