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Batavia plans public electric vehicle charger

Station to serve two cars at once in City Hall lot

An electric vehicle charger is planned for the City Hall parking lot in Batavia.
An electric vehicle charger is planned for the City Hall parking lot in Batavia.

BATAVIA – Motorists will be able to charge up their electric vehicles at the Batavia Government Center under a proposal tentatively approved by city aldermen.

Batavia Public Works Director Gary Holm said the car charging station will be located in the west parking lot between City Hall and the Batavia Riverwalk.

The station, which resembles a gasoline fueling pump, would be available to the public and equipped to charge two vehicles simultaneously, Holm said. Drivers would use a credit card or a QR code on their cellphones to pay for the charge.

The cost to buy, install and maintain the station for three years is $15,000, Holm said. The 240-volt station is typical for use in public areas and can fully charge a vehicle in a few hours, he said.

While motorists would pay for the charge, the idea is not so much to generate revenue for the city, but to promote the use of electric vehicles, Holm said.

He asked aldermen to approve a contract with ChargePoint, a California-based company with offices in Naperville, to install and administer the charging station. ChargePoint would collect the charging costs from customers, deduct a fee and forward the proceeds to the city.

The city has not decided how much to charge drivers, Holm said, but noted that the rate for a ChargePoint station at the Kane County Government Center in Geneva is 30 cents per kilowatt hour.

The Batavia City Council is expected to approve the station at its Nov. 6 meeting.

Meanwhile, as 2018 budget discussions get underway in November, aldermen will consider a proposal from the Batavia Environmental Commission to encourage Batavia households to buy and install electric vehicle charging equipment.

The proposal would provide a $500 rebate for the purchase and installation of an electric vehicle charger. In addition, the $85 city building inspection fee would be waived.

The rebate would come in the form of a credit on the household’s city utility bill. The incentive program would be limited to one rebate per household.

The cost of home car charging equipment is in the $400 to $600 range, plus installation.

The city staff supports the proposal and has asked aldermen to budget $10,000 for the program in the coming year.

Holm said the city would like to see an increase in electric demand.

Batavia, which operates its own electric utility, has an investment stake in the coal-fired Prairie State electric power plant in downstate Illinois, and the deal has the city paying for surplus generation.

“If we could get everybody to increase electric consumption 15 percent or 20 percent, a lot of our problems would be solved,” Holm told aldermen.

As for the city charging station, Holm said the device will be located on a small grassy island near the west end of the parking lot. The station would serve the lot’s two inside spaces farthest from the City Hall building.

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