Motorists who drive electric vehicles can plug in for free in downtown Fayetteville, thanks to a partnership between the city and Ozarks Electric Cooperative.
City officials and Ozarks Electric representatives on Friday unveiled an electric vehicle charging station recently installed in the city-owned lot at Mountain Street and Church Avenue.
The Level 2 charging station includes two plugs that can be accessed from three adjacent parking spaces. City Council members next month will consider reserving one space strictly for charging electric vehicles.
Ozarks Electric paid about $3,500 for the charging equipment. The city used about $1,000 in grant money to have the station installed.
Drivers can use the charger for free, but still must pay the 25-cent hourly fee to park in the lot weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Besides encouraging drivers to help reduce the carbon footprint and dependence on foreign oil, charging stations are considered marketing tools for retail businesses and community centers in some parts of the country.
According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, retail operators have reported customers using electric vehicle chargers spend more time at a destination than other customers. Charging stations also allow electric vehicle owners to top-off their charge while working, shopping, or attending entertainment venues.
Connecticut officials this month unveiled a plan to help more than double the number of electric vehicle charging stations at shopping centers, universities, parking garages and other public places. The idea – aimed at encouraging people to buy an electric car – is to reduce “range anxiety” by making sure electric vehicle owners are no more 10 to 15 minutes from a charging station.
The new downtown charger is at least the third public charging station in Fayetteville. Other stations are located at Ozarks Electric Cooperative, 3641 W. Wedington Dr., and at the University of Arkansas’ Garland Avenue Garage, 650 N. Garland Avenue.