Additional Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Proposed


A charging station space at Morse Court. Contributed

New Canaan has fallen behind “peer” municipalities such as Westport and Greenwich in how few electric vehicle charging stations it offers visitors, a deficit that the town could start to address this spring, officials said last week.

With just four public stations compared to some 30 in other towns, New Canaan isn’t doing as much as it could to draw those seeking to shop, dine or see major attractions such as the Philip Johnson Glass House, and to ease the “range anxiety” of those visitors with electric vehicles, according to Parking Commissioner Chris Hering.

Strategically placed around the downtown, the additional charging stations could be marked “electric vehicle preferred” so that regular gas-powered cars could use them, too, Hering said at the Commission’s March 14 meeting. They also could be set up efficiently as “dual-headed tandem stations” so as to serve a cluster of four parking spots at once, he said.

“There is an increase in electric vehicles in the state and the trend is for more electric vehicles at an accelerating pace,” Hering said at the Commission’s meeting, held in Town Hall.

“In order to get the most out of EVs you basically want to have [the charging stations] in a place where parking spots turn over,” Hering said. “So, not at the train station, not at places that are used all day. Ideally you want them in highly visible places where transients would come and park and that have been shown to draw commerce into a town, and basically help brand the town as helpful.”

So, for example, the Park Street Lot could be a key location because it draws many visitors who walk down to the Glass House visitors center, Hering said. Additionally, the Center School Lot is a good candidate because it’s close to New Canaan Library, and charging stations could be part of the plan to redo Locust Avenue Lot this summer. 

The Public Works budget has funding to install two stations this spring—it costs between $3,000 and $4,000 to do that work (see pages 48 and 59 here)—and there may be donations coming in for the units themselves, which cost about $3,500 apiece, Hering said. The cost of the electricity itself is small enough that it’s not a major consideration in pursuing installation of additional stations, he said.

Hering’s comments came during a general update for the Commission on electric vehicle charging stations. Hering said he consulted with local experts such as Leo Karl III of Karl Chevrolet, which offers the fully electric Chevy Bolt, as well as New Canaan Public Works Director Tiger Mann and Tucker Murphy, executive director of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Tourism and Economic Development Advisory Committee.

The proposed budget now under consideration by town funding bodies includes a $10,000 earmark for electric vehicle charging stations in fiscal year 2021, as part of the fluid five-year capital plan. Hering said he would present before the Board of Selectmen regarding the possibility of setting aside funding for additional targeted stations.

10 thoughts on “Additional Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Proposed

      • Thanks Michael. Slight correction there are FOUR Level 2 charging stations in New Canaan – one in the Morse Court lot and three at Karl Chevrolet – two on the east side of our service department (closest to Walter Stewarts) and one on the west side of our showroom (closest to Acme). The chargers at Karl Chevrolet are powered by solar panels on our roof and open to the public when not in use by our clients. No cost to use them.

        • August 1, 2019 – CLARIFICATION – I find it necessary to post this update as we have recently had several commuters or local residents using our charging stations/parking spots during business hours and it has had a negative impact on our ability to provide customer service to our clients. The charging stations located on the private property of Karl Chevrolet are open to public use, at no cost, AFTER our normal business hours. These charging stations are private and used by our business for sales and service customers during working hours. Of course, if asked, we will certainly try to accommodate an emergency charge or one-time visitor to town. Thank you for your understanding.

  1. The one in the Morse Court Lot is great – but I wouldn’t dream about parking at Karl Chevrolet to charge my non-Chevrolet ev. Really great of them of offer them to others and even better they are solar charged! But really there is only one charger publicly available NC. But one is better than none! Thanks to the town for providing it.

    • Morag, while you may not feel comfortable using the chargers at Karl Chevrolet, I can assure you that other EV drivers do use them. You may also be surprised to learn that Karl Chevrolet has helped promote EV use around Fairfield County and we have sponsored and/or helped get EV charging stations installed at locations in Stamford, Norwalk and Westport in addition to New Canaan. Chevrolet has some great plug-in Electric Vehicles and so do other manufacturers. As EV’s become more popular, the majority of EV charging will continue to be done at consumers home overnight. However it is very important that local municipalities, including New Canaan, become more EV friendly. Karl Chevrolet is proud to be a leader in EV sales and happy to help make EV charging more accessible to the public. Over time, we believe this will help more consumers feel comfortable in considering driving an EV themselves and when that time comes, we hope they will consider a Chevrolet EV.

  2. Fellow Townfolks, Karl Chevrolet has been part of New Canaan for over ninety years. Indeed they do sell Chevrolets but they also sell kindness and graciousness. They contribute to our community in multiple ways and always with good spirit. Folks going there for charging would be sure to get a friendly hello along with the energy. If one were uncomfortable about the car not being their product you could ease the pain with a bag of cookies. The cookies would be accepted with a big New Canaan smile.
    Rick Franco

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