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Batavia opens electric car-charging station

City seeks to promote electric vehicle use

BATAVIA – An electric vehicle charging station now operates at the Batavia Government Center.

The station is located in the west parking lot next to the utility payment drop-off bin and is available for use by the public. Motorists can use a credit card or the QR code on their phones to pay for the charge.

The station resembles a gasoline fueling pump and is equipped to charge two vehicles simultaneously. The city has established a cost of 40 cents per kilowatt hour to charge a vehicle at the station.

For a typical electric car with a range of 200 miles, getting a full charge at the station would cost about $24 and take about four hours, Batavia Public Works Director Gary Holm said.

However, most users are not expected to be charging up at the station for that long. Rather, they likely would be topping off the charge while visiting downtown businesses and restaurants or using the bicycle trail, Holm said.

The city spent $15,000 to buy, install and maintain the station for three years and hopes to recoup that cost through public use of the station.

Holm said the primary goal of the charger is to promote the use of electric vehicles. The Batavia charging station is part of a growing trend and reduces the anxieties of electric vehicle owners that they might run out of power.

“They are popping up all over the place,” Abby Beck, of the Batavia Environmental Commission, said

Richard Jones of Advanced Data Technologies of Naperville, the firm which installed Batavia’s station, agreed.

“They are getting to be everywhere,” Jones said, including a large facility at Woodman’s Market in North Aurora, the Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva and numerous locations in St. Charles.

In addition to the vehicle charging station, Batavia is taking a more direct approach to convincing residents to buy an electric car.

Acting on a recommendation from the Batavia Environmental Commission, the city offers residents a $500 rebate for the purchase and installation of an electric vehicle charger in the home. In addition, the $85 city building inspection fee will be waived.

The rebate comes in the form of a credit on the household’s city utility bill. The incentive program is limited to one rebate per household. The cost of home car-charging equipment is in the $400 to $600 range plus installation. The city has budgeted $10,000 this year for the program.

City officials want to see an increase in electrical demand. Batavia operates its own electric utility and has an investment stake in the coal-fired Prairie State electric power plant in downstate Illinois, an arrangement that has the city paying for surplus generation.

The charging station stands on the small grassy island near the west end of the parking lot, between the City Hall building and Batavia Riverwalk. The station serves the parking lot’s two inside spaces farthest from the government center building.

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