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Local

St. Charles cuts ribbon for new electric car charger

ST. CHARLES – Julia Davies had backed her Tesla Model S into a parking space on the fourth floor of the St. Charles parking garage Monday so she could demonstrate how to use the garage’s newest amenity – an electric car charger.

Davies, of St. Charles, was on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, along with two representatives from local dealerships who showcased a Chevy Volt and a Nissan Leaf, to celebrate the new charging station going live. She showed a small crowd how she plugged her car in and explained that her Tesla could travel as many as 300 miles on one charge.

She said she and her husband, Gregg Yedwab, brought up the idea of installing a charging station with the city of St. Charles because they didn’t know of any existing charging stations in the city.

“It’s not so much that we need a charging station in downtown St. Charles,” she said. “But the whole electric car community out there knows they can come out and shop while they’re charging.”

The charging station – a ChargePoint brand – is connected to a mobile application that tells electric car owners where the nearest charging station is and whether it’s in use. Two cars can be charged at a time and vehicles are limited to two hours. Each charge costs a few cents, which the city of St. Charles pays for, so electric car owners can charge their vehicles for free.

The charging station cost about $13,000, and a grant through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will help offset about $6,500 of the cost in the form of a rebate, St. Charles Electric Services Manager Tom Bruhl has said.

City Administrator Mark Koenen said he hoped the charger would draw electric car owners to the downtown area, who may shop or dine at downtown restaurants while waiting for their vehicles to charge.

“St. Charles has a vision to encourage a green environment,” he said. “Hopefully, they’ll spend some green stuff in our community.”

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