Coldwater adds two more free electric vehicle chargers

COLDWATER — Two new electric vehicle chargers are in the Chandler parking lot just off the southwest quadrant of Four Corners Park.

The two new level 2 chargers and the two near 75 W. Chicago on U.S. 12 are the only public EV chargers in Branch County.

The new EV charger sits on the edge of the southwest quadrant of Four Corners Park off U.S. 12.
The new EV charger sits on the edge of the southwest quadrant of Four Corners Park off U.S. 12.

Paul Jakubczak, director of the Coldwater Board of Public Utilities, said there is no charge to use them — for now.

“Until we get to the point that we develop a rate for them,” he clarified, which must be approved by the CBPU board and city council. “Once our cost-of-service study is done, we'll go ahead and give everyone the notification that we're going to start charging."

CBPU spent around $8,000 to install the single-pole double chargers including the cost of the infrastructure to connect them to city power. That work was completed during the rebuild of Four Corners Park last year. The new chargers were installed about eight weeks ago.

Jakubczak is not sure the city can charge at the West Chicago Street units because those were installed with a grant.

CBPU director Paul Jakubczak said for now, there is no cost to use the city's EV chargers.
CBPU director Paul Jakubczak said for now, there is no cost to use the city's EV chargers.

“We're still looking at that. We're kind of leaning towards the charge per hour, instead of the charge per kilowatt hour,” he said.

Level 1 chargers are like plugging into an electrical outlet.

According to the U.S. Energy Department, a level 2 charger allows a user to charge an electric car five to seven times faster for a full-electric car or up to three times faster for a plug-in hybrid, compared to a Level 1 charger.

Jakubczak said the CBPU Level 2 chargers allow a person to top off the car battery.

“If it's all the way down, probably eight hours would be my guess” to bring it to full capacity, he said.

The EV charger on U.S. was installed over two years ago.
The EV charger on U.S. was installed over two years ago.

“But most of the time, you're driving around, you're just going to park somewhere, plug it in, and get that little bit of a trickle charge,” he said.

“We are going to continue looking at expanding our presence with EV chargers. It's just a matter of where can we get any funding that's available. And where's the best location to put them,” Jakubczak said.

Level 2 chargers require a 240-volt electrical source, similar to an oven range or clothes dryer. Tesla installs Level 3 chargers around the country near major highways for its buyers.

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Level 3 chargers require a 480-volt electrical source, which is also used to power industrial motors and heating applications and costs more to purchase and install. Level 3 chargers can fully charge an EV in less than an hour.

Motor Trend magazine sampled charging costs by state in January. Michigan ranked 40th — near the most expensive. The magazine said the power cost for a Tesla Model 3 is $7.33, for a Volvo XC40 it is $9.52, and for a Ford F-150 Lightning it is $16 to completely charge the vehicle battery.

A Tesla Model 3 will cover between 250 and 350 miles on a single charge. The Volvo XC40 lists a full charge will travel 249 miles. The Ford F-150 Lightning will go 230 miles per charge on the standard model, but upgrading to the larger battery pack boosts the driving range to 320 miles.

— Contact Don Reid: dReid@Gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter: @DReidTDR.

This article originally appeared on Coldwater Daily Reporter: Coldwater adds two more free electric vehicle chargers