Government

City to set rates for fast EV charging station

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A new DC Fast electric vehicle charging station is in the works for Crawfordsville, and a proposed ordinance headed for the full Crawfordsville Common Council on Monday will help set user rates for the future station.

At the council’s regular committee meeting on Tuesday, John Douglas, customer service director for Crawfordsville Electric Light & Power, outlined details for the project.

He said both the Utility Service Board and the full council are responsible for setting the rates. The USB approved the proposed rate of 58 cents per kilowatt hour at its August meeting. The proposed ordinance before the council mirrors that rate.

CEL&P is one of eight Indiana utility companies that will install at least 61 DC Fast EV charging stations across the state. Money to install these charging stations is coming from the state, which received more than $5.5 million from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Program. The award money comes from a settlement from Volkswagen over its Clean Air Act violations. The funds are being administered by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management through various grants.

The goal of the Indiana Utility Group, which includes CEL&P, is to help meet Indiana’s future transportation needs as more auto manufacturers offer EV choices. Having a network of fast charging stations that can charge some EVs in as little as 20 minutes will allow Hoosier consumers to consider purchasing an electric vehicle and will help meet the needs of visitors who travel throughout the state.

Douglas said the proposed site for the new fast charging station is at the Sunoco Station, 2501 Lafayette Road. The company offers already offers alternative fuels and seemed like a good fit, he added.

Currently, CEL&P has regular EV charging stations at the Crawfordsville District Public Library, 205 S. Washington St., and the Dr. Philip Q. Michal Trailhead Park,
510 S. Washington St. Rates for those charging stations are 26 cents per kilowatt hour.

Douglas said EV charging station rates are set much higher than the rates for a typical residential user, which is closer to 10 cents per kilowatt hour.

“This is to make sure that user fees are paying for the stations,” he said.

He stressed the fast charging station is different from the current stations located in the downtown. The fast charging station is a much higher powered piece of equipment, and is more in line with a primary power customer.

Douglas said fast chargers cost more than $80,000 and when used they create a significant demand on the electrical grid and system.

“Most of these sessions will be in the 20-30 minute range,” Douglas said. “People aren’t going to want to sit longer than that.”

He estimated the user cost for a session at the fast charging station would be about $24 and provide two-thirds of a “tank,” or a sufficient amount of “fuel” to make it to their destination or next charging station.

The average charge time on the existing regular charging stations is one hour and 41 minutes and costs users $2.40.

Douglas said there have been 270 charging sessions to date, and the one at library is used more. He said usage is on pace to reach 470 charging sessions this year.

The proposed ordinance before the council does not affect the rates on the downtown charging sessions — those will remain the same.

Douglas told committee members to expect more charging stations in the future.

“As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill there is $5 billion, of which Indiana is to receive $99 million, and they intend to take it to the next level as far as building out charging stations,” he said. “There’s definitely some momentum and money behind it for sure.”

Douglas did not offer a projected timeline for future charging stations, but the state reported that many of the fast charging stations would be installed in 2023.

The proposed ordinance was forwarded to the full council with a favorable recommendation.

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