Elkton board approves agreement for electric car charging stations
The town board of commissioners unanimously approved an agreement Wednesday night with a company to install two charging stations in a downtown parking lot.
The agreement with ChargePoint includes the use and activation of the stations as well as billing terms, among other items, said Jeanne Minner, director of planning.
The parking lot at 117 and 119 W. Main St. is on its way to becoming the fifth location in the county to offer electric vehicle charging stations, the others being Williams Chevrolet on Route 40, the Royal Farms stores in Cecilton and North East and the Flying J. The Elkton library is also in the process of adding charging stations.
Elkton received a $100,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s
Strategic Demolition and Smart Growth Impact Fund to redo the parking lot. As part of the agreement, two ChargePoint electrical vehicle stations, which can charge two cars per station, will be installed. Other improvements to the parking lot include landscaping and making the Main Street entrance two-way.
Both John Downs, town attorney, and Lewis George, town administrator, recommended approval of the contract.
The ChargePoint product was recommended by the town’s engineering firm, KCI Technologies, Minner said. ChargePoint has more than 30,000 stations across the United States, she noted.
Minner also mentioned a 2014 Wilmington Area Planning Council data report on electric vehicle charging hotspots, which identified Elkton as an area that should have a charging station.
The commissioners had several questions about the electric vehicle stations.
Mayor Rob Alt questioned how people can pay when they use the station. Minner said people can pay with a charge card or through an app, which can also show people the location of charging stations.
“We’ll set up an administrative account,” she explained. “The town can choose to either not charge for the electricity or we can charge and receive back the cost for the electricity or we can make a small profit on it, if we want to.”
She noted that if the town chooses to receive funding back, the town receives 90 percent and the company receives 10 percent for administrative fees. The current electric cost is 11 cents per kilowatt per hour, but the town could charge 15 to 20 cents, Minner said.
Minner said most travelers use the station for about an hour to top off their cars but noted it could take a couple of hours to fully charge a vehicle. While the vehicle is charging, they can look around the downtown area, she added.
Alt asked how it would work if people kept their cars at the station all night. Minner suggested that the Elkton Police Department could monitor the site and make sure the stations are actively being used and that a gasoline-powered vehicle is not parked in one of the spots.
Commissioner Earl Piner said there should be a discussion about who will monitor the site before assuming the police department will do so. He added that meters should be added to the stations to make sure that people are using the time they have purchased and are not taking advantage of the charging spot.
Minner said the charging stations will be installed at the end of the parking lot construction and then the town’s account with ChargePoint will be set up.
The project is slated to finish by the end of this month, Minner said.
In addition to the lot project, two bike racks, funded through a grant from the state’s Department of Transportation Bikeways Program, are also scheduled for installation on the lot.