Plymouth is installing more than 100 electric vehicle charging stations across the city for the public to use.
Plymouth is believed to be the first city in Minnesota to install such a vast network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, with 115 parking stalls set to go in around the city. They'll be at places like Plymouth City Hall, Plymouth Ice Center, Plymouth Community Center, Station 73 Park and Ride, and several city parks, giving EV owners a place to charge when attending city events.
“We are very excited to lead the charge in Minnesota and become one of the first cities to provide electric vehicle charging stations to the entire community,” Plymouth Public Works Director Michael Thompson said in a statement. “This new program will offer community members the convenience of plugging in at a nominal rate while visiting city facilities.”
The Plymouth City Council on Sept. 28 approved a contract with Carbon Solutions Group, which will pay for the installation and operational costs of the EV charging stations. This won't cost the Plymouth taxpayers any money, with those who use the charging stations paying a "competitive" rate for the electricity to charge their vehicle.
In fact, in the long run, this is set to benefit the city's bottom line. Plymouth is expected to receive $32,000 in revenue annually for the first five years of the agreement and $45,000 of revenue starting in year six.
And the city says total cost savings over the next decade amount to $2.4 million, city documents show.
The city will also get three electric vehicles — Nissan Leaf Fleet vehicles — at no cost, which will replace three older, more inefficient city vehicles. Once the city gets these vehicles, Plymouth will have a total of five in its EV fleet. The city will be given the option to buy the three vehicles after five years at $3,750 per vehicle.
A timeline for when these EV charging stations will be available is in the works, the city says. Amy Hanson, Plymouth's Fleet and Facilities manager, said during the City Council meeting it will take about 20-48 weeks to get everything installed at each charging station.
These charging stations will hopefully bring more people to city events, including those who live outside of Plymouth, Hanson said during the meeting. If people know there's an EV charging station, it may motivate them to go to the event.
Once implemented, this contract with Carbon Solutions Group will help with the city's goal of reducing its carbon footprint and provide the convenience of EV stations through the city to benefit the public and city fleet.
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As of June, there were 1,171 EV charging points in Minnesota, including 421 in Hennepin County, for the 20,000 electric vehicles registered in the state, the Minnesota Department of Transportation's Electrical Vehicle Dashboard shows.
While electric vehicles still make up a tiny portion of the registered vehicles in Minnesota, their popularity is growing. And proponents of electric vehicles say more EV infrastructure will help encourage more people to buy electric because charging stations will be easier to find, easing concerns about an EV's range.
It's worth noting that EVs can easily travel more than 100 miles on a single charge, with 80% of charging being done at home at night, Drive Electric MN says. For those going farther than 100 miles, Plugshare.com shows where all the charging stations are near you.
DC Fast Charges (DCFC) give EV owners 180-240 miles of range per hour and Level 2 charges give people 10-20 miles of range per hour while charging, Drive Electric MN says.
The City of Plymouth's new EV charging stations will include both DCFC and Level 2 charging spaces.