Electric vehicle charging stations move one step closer to Highlands

By Kim Lewicki, Highlands Newspaper

With construction specifics in hand, moving forward with electric vehicle charging stations in town is now in the Chamber of Commerce’s court.

At the Highlands Town Board meeting on Jan. 19, Public Works Director Lamar Nix provided as requested an outline on what the town needed to do and how much it would cost to ready four parking spaces in two locations in town for Level 2 EV charging stations.

The sites OK’d by the town are on west Oak Street and south 3rd Street and include two adjacent spaces at each site.

One of the few EV charging stations located in town, pictured is outside The Ugly Dog.

Nix said with supply chain problems an issue, it’s lucky that the town has the materials on hand – basically utility poles and transformers.

“Transformers are nowhere to be had across the country,” said Nix. “But we have a good inventory of them.”

It will take three transformers per site, so six all together. Nix said It takes a bank of overhead transformers to create the correct 3-phase voltage required for these applications.

Two new 55’ to 60’ utility poles will also be required at each site because the existing poles are too short to support a bank of transformers.

Commissioner Amy Patterson was all for moving ahead.

“I consider this an infrastructure upgrade to move technology in town forward,” she said.

However, Commissioner Marc Hehn suggested the town consider outfitting the sites for Level 3 EV charging stations instead because the charge is faster and vehicles can go further on a charge.

Nix said outfitting town spaces for Level 3 chargers would cost $100,000 instead of the estimated $25,000 Level 2.

A Level 2 charger will get an average of 32 miles of driving range per hour of charge.

A Level 3 charger that delivers between 50 kW and 350 kW power, can add 298 miles range at the high end and at 50 kW, one hour of charging a passenger vehicle will add approximately 173 miles

This was all started by the Chamber which has a grant to set up two, Level 2 sites. The grant money will be used to outfit the sites which is above what the town is supplying.

Director of the Chamber Kaye McHan said she needs to put numbers together and get board approval before she can give specifics regarding steps forward.

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