MEEKER I WREA will begin installation of its electric vehicle (EV) charging units next week and for some passing motorists it can’t come fast enough. The Meeker Chamber of Commerce has fielded recent calls regarding EV charging unit availability in Meeker, and two weeks ago had a passing motorist stop in search of local EV charging.
“A gentleman, nearing empty on his electric vehicle, stopped into the Chamber looking for a charging station. We told him sorry we don’t have one yet but it’s coming soon,” said Stephanie Kobald, executive director for the Meeker Chamber of Commerce. WREA located the units just off Highway 13 at Fifth and Market streets in the Bank of the San Juans’ parking lot to maximize existing electric infrastructure as well as servicing both passing motorists and locals who may be interested in purchasing an electric vehicle.
WREA will own, operate and maintain the units. The units will charge a per kWh fee which will be displayed on the charging stations. The cost to “fill up” an electric vehicle depends on the car and the size of the battery. Mileage and efficiency are dependent on many factors including battery size, air temperature, elevation and terrain. “WREA is in the business of selling electricity; this is a growing area in Colorado’s electric industry and WREA determined it’s the right time to begin providing this service,” said WREA’s General Manager Alan Michalewicz. Michalewicz went on to state that WREA waited to provide charging units until EV use became more mainstream on the Western Slope and to allow the industry to work out some of the initial kinks. EV users will be well covered as WREA is installing the latest version for both Level II and Level III charging units. The Level III is known as the fast charging unit and charges an EV in 30-45 minutes depending on the vehicle and battery level. The Level II unit charges a car in just under two hours depending on the vehicle and battery. Both units have universal charge adaptors and can charge any EV vehicle on the road including Japanese, North American and European EVs. Tesla vehicles have a unique shape and each vehicle comes with its own adapter.
While the initial use may be limited, Michalewicz added, WREA’s research shows that other similarly situated rural Colorado cooperatives have seen consistent increases in their EV charges, basically doubling each year since installation. WREA received grants in support of this project from the Colorado Charge Ahead program as well as its power supplier Tri-State Generation and Transmission.
WREA appreciates the support it has received from the Town of Meeker and the Meeker Chamber of Commerce and looks forward to having the units up and running by early June.