Summit County has now purchased and installed a new smart electric vehicle charging station network.
Summit County Sustainability Manager Lisa Yodder says the county is installing the stations as part of the council’s sustainability plan. Yodder says the stations were put in first and foremost for the county’s electric vehicle fleet. Right now, the county has just two electric vehicles, but more are on order as the county retires older vehicles and opts to replace them with electric.
“We put two in at the Kamas Services Building,” Yodder explained. “We put two in in Coalville, plus a fast charger in Coalville to serve Interstate traffic where they have to stop and charge quickly. We put two in at the Public Health Department over in Round Valley. These are all located where there are other employers in the area and where the public can also use those chargers as part of the overall transition to electric vehicles.”
There county also placed stations at the Ecker Hill Park and Ride and the Summit County Library in Kimball Junction. The chargers are available to use for free. However, accessing the chargers requires using a credit card or an app to help the county track data. Yodder explains that the county could charge for the electricity if they wanted in the future.
“We could at any point in time change them to operate during certain hours where fleet vehicles have a priority or that instills a fee for the users,” Yodder continued. “We have found and nationally it's known that charging a fee disengages people from using the chargers which defeats the purpose of installing them.”
Additionally, the data collected can be used to identify sites where more chargers are needed.
The county has installed fast chargers in two locations although most the chargers are level two chargers. Those devices are faster than a home outlet and usually take four to eight hours to charge a car battery.
“So, they’re perfect for parking lots where people park all day, at our facilities where staff and fleet vehicles are parked,” Yodder said. “They’re perfect for the park and ride lot at Ecker Hill where we installed five. The fast chargers charge in 20 to 30 minutes depending on how depleted the battery is and the size of the battery. That's why we've located fast chargers in Kimball Junction and Coalville on the I-80 corridor.”
Yodder says level two chargers cost around $5,000 whereas the fast chargers are in the range of $25,000-$35,000. She says that 80% of the funds for the chargers were provided through grants from Rocky Mountain Power.
“The whole goal is transition to clean vehicles that reduce tailpipe emissions and help keep our air clean,” Yodder explained. “Councils forethought and planning is what got us here; where everyone benefits from the pennies we spend a day on electricity."