Kremmling opens electric vehicle charging station
Special to the Sky-Hi News
Kremmling became the first public entity to offer an Electronic Vehicle (EV) charging station on Hwy 40 between Idaho Springs and Vernal, Utah on May 18.
The general lack of accessible charging stations along the 286 miles between those two points has been a limiting factor for electric car owners wanting to travel the mountain corridor, as all top models are still unable to cover a distance of even 100 miles without recharging. While there are two privately-owned stations in Steamboat, the Kremmling EV station serves as the first of a number of public stations to be installed along this stretch of Hwy 40, creating a viable thruway north of I-70.
The Level 2 EV station is located just off of the highway on the west side of the town square and can accommodate two vehicles at a time. While EV owners can charge their vehicles overnight with a standard 110-volt outlet, the Level 2’s 240-volt charge, similar to that used for high-energy appliances like a clothes dryer or oven, allows for recharging in as little as three to four hours.
For now, the station is offered free to the public, as the minimal cost of between $1.50 and $2.00 to charge an electric car is seen as a worthwhile exchange for the foot-traffic that it would bring to the town center.
“It wasn’t on our radar before,” said Kremmling Town Manager Mark Campbell. “Now, it will bring people who hadn’t considered Kremmling before due to the inaccessibility of chargers. It will give them a chance to enjoy our restaurants and stores and help preserve the quality of our air at the same time.”
The station is the final result of an effort initiated in August of last year when current Mountain Parks Electric, Inc. Board Member Liz McIntyre, then on the company’s Green Power Board, approached the town about state grant opportunities.
In 2009, the Colorado legislature established an electronic vehicle charging program. Subsequently the Colorado Energy Office and Regional Air Quality Control instituted “Charge Ahead Colorado,” a funding project with the “intent of reducing harmful air pollutants and encouraging the diversification of the State of Colorado’s transportation fuels mix,” according to their website at cleanairfleets.org.
Kremmling received a Charge Ahead grant in September 2014 that will reimburse the town for up to $6,260 for the multi-port Level 2 station. Additional support has been offered through Mountain Parks for up to $2,000 in related costs. Campbell anticipates that the final project cost is below the $8,400 budget.
Similar grants have been awarded to the towns of Winter Park and Steamboat Springs and both communities plan on having similar Level 2 EV stations installed and functional within the next two weeks.
When asked about her proactive enthusiasm in approaching area towns, McIntyre explained that, “electricity and the electric motor have raised our standard of living enormously, from lighting to refrigerators to washing machines and more. I think we are going to see this same kind of revolution in transportation.”
The topic of transportation is a large one, currently being discussed at all levels of government. With the new EV charging stations, Grand County has positioned itself at the forefront of remote mountain communities in the “effort to improve air quality and encourage deployment of electric vehicles across the State of Colorado.”
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