CU to install electric car charging station near Greenway
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Mar 16, 2014 | 984 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cleveland Utilities has made plans for installing an electric car charging station at Raider Drive near the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway.

The station would be made possible through a partnership with TVA and the Electric Power Research Institute.

“TVA partnered with EPRI to research and promote the use of electric vehicles. The resulting hybrid program was then offered to all of the TVA distributors. The program requires CU to purchase and place into service one hybrid bucket truck, in which the bucket will operate on batteries.

By participating in the hybrid bucket truck program, Cleveland Utilities was also eligible to purchase one hybrid pickup truck,” operations engineer Kim Duncan said.

“Cleveland Utilities will then receive a refund from TVA to help offset the cost of the hybrid systems on both of these vehicles. “

As part of participating in the program, CU is also required to make an electric car charging station available to the public.

“We are happy to provide the space for this because it would allow people to enjoy the Greenway while they are charging their car,” Greenway board chairman Cameron Fisher said.

Energy usage and the utility’s performance data will be given to EPRI to help them in their further study of electric powered vehicles.

“EPRI focuses on the research, development and demonstration relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public,” Duncan said.

Electric cars are anticipated to become more popular in the future.

Duncan said CU is preparing now through the study and use of this technology to contribute to understanding how it will affect electricity use in the future.

“CU will have to plan and account for additional electrical usage for charging stations in both homes and businesses. For example, the transformer and service sizes that we currently place at the average size home or business may have to be upsized to allow the charging of multiple vehicles at one time,” Duncan said.

Cleveland residents already have access to a public electric car charging station at the Cracker Barrel at Exit 25.

Statistics on the demand for such a service right now is largely unknown.

“At the present time, there is little information available on the current demand for the charging stations in Cleveland, and CU will not know this information until the usage data from the CU installed charging station is analyzed,” Duncan said.

She commented the Raider Drive Greenway location was chosen because it is highly accessible for the public.

The location also gives drivers something to do while they are waiting.

The stations have not been received from EPRI yet and an estimated installation date has not been determined, according to Duncan.

The plan is for CU to operate the station for two years.

“All costs for the installation and upkeep of the charging stations will be Cleveland Utilities responsibility during the two-year contract period. At the end of this period, CU will work with the City of Cleveland to evaluate the usage and determine if there is ample justification for the station to remain. At that point, the City could opt to take over responsibility for the maintenance, upkeep and usage for the station. Otherwise, CU would most likely remove the facilities,” Duncan said.

The Cleveland City Council approved the contract during a January voting session.