Sustainable Essex Launches Fundraising Effort for Electric Vehicle Charging Station
The Town of Essex recently approved a plan to install an electric vehicle (EV) charging station in the public parking lot adjacent to the Essex Town Green off Main Street.
“We support the location and your attempt to go out and fundraise,” said First Selectman Norman Needleman after hearing from Mark de Jongh of the Sustainable Essex Committee at the July 15 Board of Selectmen (BOS) meeting.
The project, which is being spearheaded by the Sustainable Essex Committee, would install a dual, level 2 charger, compatible with most electric vehicles.
A level 2 charger provides a 240-volt outlet, giving an electric vehicle a full charge in four- to eight hours and a hybrid electric and gas vehicle a full charge in two hours or less, according to the non-profit Plug in America.
De Jongh said the reasoning behind the project is to help consumers overcome one of the challenges associated with buying an EV: finding a place to charge up.
“And of course, with electric vehicles comes the benefits of cleaner air and slowing greenhouse gas emissions,” he said in a telephone interview with the Courier in mid-June.
The environmental benefits of electric vehicles are recognized by the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP). The DEEP issued an EV roadmap for the state on April 22.
The 2020 EV roadmap entails a widespread strategy for increased use of electric vehicles, focusing on medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, “to improve air quality for residents while also addressing the climate crisis,” according to the DEEP website.
Connecticut also signed on to a Zero-Emission Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), along with 14 other states and the District of Columbia on July 14.
States under this MOU have committed to “ensuring that 100 percent of all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales be zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2050 with an interim target of 30 percent ZEV sales by 2030,” according to DEEP.
This means that Connecticut plans to put 125,000 to 150,000 EVs on the road by 2025, a major increase compared with the 11,677 EVs that were registered in the state as of Dec. 31, 2019, according to the state’s 2020 EV roadmap.
Once the EV charging station is installed in Essex, it would add another charging location along the Route 9 corridor to Middletown.
The first EV charging station in the area was installed in 2012 at the Deep River Public Library.
Deep River Public Library Director Susan Rooney says “it is very popular. Somebody is almost always there charging up.”
The charging station in Deep River was the result of former Deep River selectman Dave Oliveria’s efforts to coordinate with an offer from Connecticut Light & Power (now Eversource) that provided free electric vehicle supply equipment units in a certain service area.
“At that time, there was a desert of not many chargers to go to,” said Oliveria. “We put ourselves on the map between Middletown and Old Saybrook.”
The location of the EV charger in Deep River allowed residents and visitors an opportunity to charge their vehicle while enjoying a stroll down Main Street, potentially eating at a restaurant or shopping in town.
The spot in Essex carries similar attributes.
“I think as people come to this town to shop and walk downtown, it would be nice to offer a charging station for those people with electric vehicles,” said De Jongh at the July 15 BOS meeting.
“We discussed [the project] at length and we agreed that it was a good location and that it was a good time to do it,” said Needleman by text with the Courier on July 28.
The Sustainable Essex Committee “has agreed to try to raise the money and then get a matching grant…so the taxpayers of the town will not be paying for any of it,” he added.
The committee is collaborating with Sustainable CT, a free program for registered municipalities aiming for sustainability, to fund the total cost of the project through the organization’s Community Match Fund.
Essex, which registered with Sustainable CT in 2018, will receive dollar-for-dollar matching funds through the Sustainable CT Community Match Fund. The total cost of the project is approximately $14,084, with Essex needing to raise $7,042.
There was discussion at the July 15 BOS meeting regarding the cost of using the EV charging station. A decision was reached to initially make the first hour of EV charging free, with the cost of any remaining electricity being paid for by the consumer.
To learn more about the project, visit www.patronicity.com/essexevcharger.