TWINSBURG — Area residents who have jumped on the electric vehicle bandwagon, or are thinking about doing so, may have more options to "amp up" if the city’s plan to build charging stations comes to fruition.

At a recent City Council session, Mayor Ted Yates told members the city’s $42,000 energized community grant from the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council likely will be used to create at least one station.

He said the possible locations are the Twinsburg Recreation Center, RTA’s Creekside bus stop and on Church Street adjacent to the Township Square.

"We have contacted a couple of companies which install the stations, and we’re hoping the NOPEC grant will cover the entire cost of installation," he said.

"We hope to install chargers at one location, but if the price is right we may consider multiple locations. This project has been on our radar for a few years, and we’re excited to be in a position of going ahead with it."

Yates said once the stations are installed there shouldn’t be much cost involved for operation. "We’d probably contract with a third party to handle the collection of the charging fees from users," he explained.

Yates said officials are hoping to have the chargers up and running by August or September. He said he will outline specifics of the plan at a Council meeting in the near future.

The mayor said although there are not that many electric cars in the area, they are getting more popular and the addition of chargers could boost sales.

Established by NOPEC and NextEra Energy, the primary goal of energized community grants is to help communities implement energy savings or energy infrastructure measures.

Among things grants can be used for are LED signs, energy-efficient windows and air conditioners, insulation, solar-powered LED stop signs, generators and traffic signal, electrical and LED lighting upgrades.

Yates said the city has received NOPEC grants for the past five or six years, and has used them to improve lighting in city buildings such as City Hall and the fire stations.

 

ABOUT ELECTRIC CARS

Although EV sales are a small fraction of total sales in the United States and worldwide, the technology is increasing in popularity as car and battery prices decrease, making the cars more attractive to shoppers.

One of the negatives shoppers cite about buying EVs is the lack of charging facilities. Owners can charge up at home, but finding stations along the way when on a several hundred mile trip can be difficult.

Another drawback is the time it takes to recharge. Fully recharging the battery pack can take three to 12 hours. "Fast charges," which most of the public charging stations offer, take about 30 minutes to get to 80 percent capacity.

Charging stations are available nearby in Macedonia, Aurora, Solon, Streetsboro, Cuyahoga Falls and Stow, but some have limited hours and some are restricted to certain users.

General Motors and Bechtel, the nation’s largest construction company, recently announced a partnership to build thousands of EV fast-charging stations across the U.S.

EVs are touted as being environmentally friendly since they emit no tailpipe pollutants, and they are said to be quieter, run smoother, have stronger acceleration and require less maintenance than combustion engines.

The driving range is shorter on all-electric cars than on traditional ones. Most EVs can go at least 100 miles on a 30 kwh charge, and some models can go 300 miles-plus. The Tesla Model S can be driven 370 miles.

The initial purchase price may be higher, but prices are coming down. Tesla now offers EVs in the mid-$30,000 range, although some can be up to $75,000. Nissan’s Leaf sells in the mid-$30,000 range, as does Chevrolet’s Volt.

Most auto manufacturers also offer hybrid cars, which run partly on gasoline and partly on electric.

As for operational costs, a research study at the University of Michigan found a person who drives 15,000 miles with gasoline averaging $2.35 per gallon would pay $1,400 per year, while an EV driver would pay $540 at 12 cents per kwh.

The Leaf is according to some sources the best-selling highway-capable electric car ever with more than 400,000 units sold through March 2019, while Tesla’s Model S logged 263,500 units through December 2018.

More than 2 million electric vehicles were sold worldwide in 2018, compared to just a few thousand in 2010.

A recent report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts passenger EV sales will rise to 10 million in 2025, 28 million in 2030 and 56 million by 2040. It predicts conventionally-powered car sales will fall from 85 million to 42 million.

Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400, ext. 4189 or klahmers@recordpub.com.