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Electric car-charging stations arrive in town

MIDDLEBURY — Last month the Addison County Regional Planning Commission installed two charging stations for electric and plug-in vehicles on the east side of their Seminary Street building in Middlebury.
The chargers are part of a larger project to introduce and test the feasibility of electric and plug-in vehicles in Vermont. The planning commission last year outfitted a used Toyota Prius with an extra 5-kilowatt battery that gives the car up to 100 miles to the gallon.
The planning commission’s car will charge up at the stations, and there’s room for three other vehicles. Each of the two stations has a 120-volt and a 240-volt outlet for charging. The stations, manufactured by a company called Coulomb Technologies, were purchased from a Massachusetts distributor.
The reason the planning commission chose the Coulomb stations, said Kevin Behm, assistant director of the commission, is because they come with advanced software to track energy usage and environmental savings.
“We can see the kilowatt-hours used, we can track the frequency of (station) use, and the greenhouse gas emissions used,” he said.
Interested users can also see if the charging stations are available via the Internet — at chargepoint.net — where all Coulomb stations, which are on the Chargepoint network, can be seen. Another website, plugshare.com, shows even more charging stations, including some at the home of regular citizens who are open to people charging there.
The planning commission will begin to apply a small fee for use of the stations in a month or so. But for now, if local residents contact the planning commission at 802-388-3141, they will be able to use them for free.
On May 14, the planning commission will hold a small symposium with local residents and car dealers to talk about the future and current offerings of alternative vehicles in Addison County. The event is part of the statewide Way to Go Commuter Challenge.
Reporter Andrew Stein is at [email protected]

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