By Nicole Hennessy
Those in need of a place to charge their electric car while running errands in Avon will soon be in luck.
To be located in the Wal-Mart parking lot, the charging station is an initiative of NRG eVgo, a branch of NRG Energy Inc.
The project, however, is not being done in association with Wal-Mart. The location was chosen for convenience and for being a high-traffic area.
Mike Ritchie, electrical construction manager at SAI Communications, the organization tasked with planning and installing the charging station, explained the station will consist of two chargers – a DC Fast Charger, which gives a full charge in about 30 minutes, as well as Level 2 charging station, which gives a full charge in six hours. This type of charger is less obtrusive and typically found in the garages of electric car owners.
“Say, if your battery is 50 percent used, it could take two hours with the Level 2, but with the DC Fast Charger, it may take 10 or 15 minutes,” Ritchie said. “The DC Fast Charger is the up and coming charger that mostly everyone will be using.”
One of the only nearby cities that currently has an electric charging station is Oberlin. The closest electric car charging station is at Spitzer Mitsubishi in Sheffield Village.
This initiative to increase charging station locations is part of a national campaign by NRG to encourage electric car use.
Planning Coordinator Pam Fechter said NRG is “finding that a lot of people are not purchasing these vehicles because there’s not a charging station capability throughout the country.”
Fechter said the process of adding stations will be slow, as the city is moving forward cautiously,
commenting that she’d be hesitant to suggest approval for multiple stations at this time.
From a safety perspective, if the charger is tampered with or dismantled in any way, it will internally shut down and no voltage will be released. SAI can also communicate with the chargers remotely to diagnose any potential problems.
Also, the voltage involved is relatively small and will be drawn from Wal-Mart’s power supply.
Moving forward, city planners will have to decide what districts these stations will be allowed in. Of the inclusion of this initial station, Fechter said this is a national trend. “It’s slowly starting to trickle down to us,” she said.