Electric car charging stations unveiled in Norwalk; Westport aims to join the drive
Published 2:25 pm, Thursday, February 3, 2011
Norwalk officials hope that "if they build it, they will come."
In this case, the "they" would be an influx of electric cars.
The Norwalk Parking Authority and the Car Charging Group, Inc., provider of electric vehicle charging services, celebrated the unveiling of the first municipal electric vehicle charging station in Fairfield County at the South Norwalk Train Station on Monday afternoon.
And Westport officials hope to join the drive for electric car charging stations at their own rail depot.
Last year, Westport officials applied for more than $300,000 in federal money that would be used to install solar panels at the eastbound terminal at the local station, which would be used to supply power for plug-in vehicles.
A new electric-powered Chevy Volt was on hand for the Norwalk demonstration.
Car Charging Group has presided over the installation of six electric vehicle charging stations in the city -- two at the SoNo station, two at the Maritime Garage and two at the Yankee Doodle Garage.
"We are proud that we have got this done quickly in advance of the rollout of the electric vehicles," said Kathryn Hebert, NPA executive director.
Hebert said seven months ago Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia approached her about investigating the installation of EV chargers preceding the 2011 release of vehicles like the Volt and the Nissan Leaf.
"[People] needed a place to actually charge them," she said.
Car Charging Group is installing the Coulomb Technologies-manufactured Level II ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations at no cost to the city. The dual output stations can deliver a 7.2 kW charge via fixed 18-foot cable and a secondary, 2 kW charge. Both outputs can deliver energy simultaneously.
It will cost customers between $3 and $4 per four-hour charge. They can use a credit card or a card similar to the E-Z Pass provided by Car Charging Group.
"We're all in this together, as far as conserving energy," Moccia said. "We are at the forefront, installing six in total. This installation is a part of keeping Norwalk on the move and moving toward a greener city. We hope it's a classic case of `If you build it, they will come.'"
Other recent green initiatives by the NPA include the installation of solar powered pay stations, environmentally friendly lighting at all Norwalk Parking Authority garages and the use of a T3 scooter for security at the South Norwalk railroad station, which costs only 10 cents per day with little or no maintenance compared to using a gas truck.
Moccia thanked Car Charging Group for its efforts, and added that he hopes one in five vehicles on the road in 10 years will be electric cars.
According to Car Charging Group CEO Michael Farkas Connecticut was chosen as one of the seven markets where Chevy is launching its electric vehicle, the Volt. In addition, Nissan announced more than 20,000 nationwide reservations for the Leaf and Ford just announced an all-electric Focus to be released later this year. Car Charging Group provides EV charging stations at no charge to property owners/managers while retaining ownership, thus allowing drivers access to convenient locations and partners to realize a percentage of the charging revenue generated.
Farkas said the company's mission is to build a nationwide infrastructure of EV charging stations so travelers won't have to suffer from anxiety about whether their electric vehicles will be supplied for long trips.
"The way that Americans drive is about to undergo a radical evolution," he said.
"All of these [electric] cars have one thing in common: They need to be recharged."
Farkas cited estimates that peg 40 million electric vehicles on the road by the year 2030.
And, he added, "The car charging stations will also serve as a draw for businesses."
EV drivers will have the ability to locate and navigate to the nearest station using a smart phone or Google maps.
The ChargePoint Network also facilitates trip mapping, driver billing, 24/7 driver assistance, and greenhouse gas and energy savings measurements.
"The core of our mission is to meet the parking needs of businesses, residents and visitors," said NPA Chairman John Federici in a release.
"With the arrival of these EV charging stations, the NPA is preparing to meet their evolving needs, while requiring no capital outlay from the NPA or City of Norwalk."