7 thoughts on “‘We Are Lagging Behind’: Parking Officials Recommend Creation of More Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Downtown

  1. I like the suggestions proposed and I’d like to add this idea. How about adding EV stations in our parks? While residents and visitors are at the beach (in Kiwanis Park), walking their dogs (in Irwin and Waveny) or enjoying sports (in Mead), simply park your car and charge it.

  2. Whether it makes sense for the town to supply free electricity today at EV charging stations or not, it may become apparent that a better model will be to charge for the charge. Does the current state of EV charging station technology support the inclusion of credit card payment processing? How could it not? New Canaan should plan to include credit card processing from inception—or at a minimum be able to easily add this feature to the new stations we install.

    We should also make any necessary provisions in our code (if any are needed) to foster commercial pay-per-charge installations in town that private companies might wish to develop.

    Among many other options, one could easily imagine 2-4 EV charging stations at both of the “gas stations” in town or elsewhere on private property. Certainly, the New Canaan Library (in my opinion) would be foolish indeed not to plan to install 3-6 such stations at its new facility. In fact, it seems to me that any commercial spaces with their own (particularly substantial) parking lots—think grocery stores, for example—would be well-served by making the private investment to install EV charging stations, whether they charge for the charge or provide it as a further inducement to shop at their store(s). Even our churches, most of which have substantial parking lots that congregants and visitors tend to use for just 1-2 hours at a time, have significant opportunities in this area. And in any of these prospective installations there may be the added potential in also install some solar generation capacity to further enhance the economics.

    Between town government, commercial development and the active participation of our churches, New Canaan should be able to muster the vision, the commitment and the economic resources (including town, private and philanthropic) to achieve a goal of 12 operational EV charging stations by the end of 2021, 25 by the end of 2022 and 50 by the end of 2023.

    Let’s get charged up New Canaan!

    • George,

      Our EV Readiness Task Force is not suggesting that the town (or anyone else) should supply electricity for no charge. Rather, we are advocating that the town take steps to promote the expansion of public EV Charging. Today’s technology allows for charging stations to be installed that become part of a larger regional or national ‘charging station network’, where an EV driver joins, downloads an app on their phone, and activates the charger via the app. These include ChargePoint, EVgo, EV Connect, Blink, Electrify America, and others.
      They are billed accordingly for their use.

      Current EV drivers know about these networks (today they are fragmented, but many are combining forces to create larger, better managed networks).

      A core part of this effort is to help signal to the public that EV’s are here today, accessible, and that living with one is easy. Public EV Charging will become increasingly more accessible in the coming years. This is an opportunity for the New Canaan community to step out and lead.

  3. How about working with EVgo, a pay per kwH company (for non-Tesla EVs) that has charging stations at highway rest stops? Then it’s up to the EV owner to pay for the electricity not the town. As is probably known, Tesla is putting pay as you go charging stations by the hundreds in rest areas. Maybe they’d like to put one or ten in New Canaan

    The advantage of these charging stations, both EVgo and Tesla, is the fast charger (way faster than the Level 2 240 volt chargers.

    • Constance,

      Our EV Readiness Task Force has in fact reached out to most of the major EV charging networks about potential expansion into New Canaan. Last month we met with representatives from EVgo and they have expressed interest toward investing in the New Canaan market. Proposals are being sought, although nothing is certain.

      There are multiple ways to join some of these networks – some own and operate all of their charging stations; while others allow for municipal or privately owned chargers to be added to the network. Ultimately it will come down to costs – who bears what – as to how we best implement some of these ideas locally.

      When it comes to Tesla, they have a proprietary charging network. Tesla super chargers are primarily located along major highways and are for the sole use of Tesla owners. Elon Musk chose to create his own path for EV charging and has not allowed other auto manufacturers to use Tesla chargers. Conversely, Tesla has created adaptors to allow Tesla vehicles to charge on any other EV charger. Aside from Tesla, every other auto manufacturer is using the agreed upon charging plug established for North America. So from a Chevrolet, to an Audi, Porsche, Mercedes, BMW, Ford, Honda, VW, or any other brand, will all use the same EV charging plug.

      Today, there are three levels of EV Charging available: Level 1 = standard 120V wall outlet (gains about 3-4 miles of EV range per hour of charge – emergency use only); Level 2 = 240V (gains about 25-40 miles of EV range per hour of charge – most EV owners have installed one at their home – where the vast majority of EV charging will take place) (Level 2 is best suited for New Canaan public charging and is more friendly to long-term EV battery health); Level 3 = Super Charger or DCFC (direct current fast charge) – typically 480V+ (EV manufacturers, including Tesla, recommend use of fast charging only when needed as it can lead to increased battery degradation over time).

      The bottom line: we want to help New Canaan get ready and lead in terms of public EV Charging.

  4. Leo,

    Thank you for your expansive replies. My original comments clearly show my ignorance when it comes to EVs and charging stations. I certainly did not mean to imply that the EV Readiness Task Force was proposing that the town unilaterally supply electricity free of charge. Thank you for clarifying that point.

    Whether we do or don’t “charge for the charge” in some (or all) locations is secondary to achieving the charging station goals I proposed. Certain town-financed stations might be configured as a “loss leader” for some number of months following their installation, and then converted to not-for-free later. Charging stations at major grocery stores and other locations might very well be available for free on an on-going basis based on an individual business’s economic model.

    My take-away from the original article and the work of the EV Readiness Task Force you have amplified above remains the same: EVs are fast becoming a significant segment of our transportation infrastructure. And New Canaan — and Fairfield County — surely has a higher percentage of EVs than the average U.S. community. I think Keith Richey and you hit the nail on the head when you said (respectively): “We are lagging behind”… and “we have a ways to go to catch up”. With the proper leadership — which I think is clearly evident in you and Keith — and with additional backing from town government and other civic leaders, I have no doubt that New Canaan can muster the vision, the commitment and the economic resources (including town, private and philanthropic) to achieve a goal of 12 operational EV charging stations by the end of 2021, 25 by the end of 2022 and 50 by the end of 2023.

    Let’s get charged up New Canaan!

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