WREA to install electric car charging stations

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MEEKER | White River Electric Association (WREA) is pleased to announce that it was awarded a Colorado Energy Office, Charge Ahead Colorado grant for two electric vehicle charging stations.

“WREA is excited to bring the first electric car charging units to Meeker and this grant makes this a financially viable project,” said Alan Michalewicz, WREA General Manager. Michalewicz went on to state that while Meeker may not have a high demand for electric car charging units today, it is a growing market and WREA wants to be prepared to serve its members as well as traveling motorists.

WREA’s grant application received verbal support from the Meeker Chamber of Commerce as well as the Town of Meeker. This type of collaborative community support was an important element in the grant’s success, according to Michalewicz.

These units will promote economic development in Meeker by providing services to motorists traveling from Hwy. 40 to I-70. These units will also serve tourists who attend Meeker’s seasonal events such as Meekerpalooza, Range Call and the Meeker Classic. The grant will pay up to $39,000 which will be about 80 percent of the total cost of the project.

The units will be centrally located at the Bank of the San Juans’ parking lot on the corner of Fifth and Market streets. Locals as well as traveling motorists will be able to enjoy Meeker’s many amenities while their electric vehicle is being charged. WREA appreciates Bank of the San Juans support and cooperation. This site was selected as an ideal location as it utilizes existing electric infrastructure and parking spaces, as well as provides well-lit sidewalk access to Market and Main Street businesses. The units will be available for use 24-hours a day.

Meeker residents will be able to charge electric vehicles during their work day, running errands or enjoying downtown restaurants, shops and community events. WREA recognizes that as the electric car market grows some of its members may install charging units in their home, but in the meantime, these units will provide a cost-effective community charging option.

WREA will install both a level II and level III unit. The dual port level II unit, on average, will charge a vehicle in about two hours. The level III unit, on average, will charge a vehicle in about 45 minutes. There will be a base fee for each unit along with a per kWh fee. WREA has not established its fee schedule yet, but its fees will be comparable to other charging stations located in northwest Colorado.

The cost to “fill up” an electric vehicle depends on the car and the size of the battery. On average it costs around $7-$10 to charge a sedan such as a Chevy Volt or Tesla with a range of approximately 220-230 miles. Mileage and efficiency are dependent on many factors including battery size, air temperature, elevation and terrain. The units will be installed and operational by mid-summer 2019. WREA will provide more information about the charging units once installed.

Special to the Herald Times