Electric vehicle charging station at Whitman College

Electric vehicle charging station at Whitman College in Walla Walla charging an electric car.

COLLEGE PLACE — The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to install an electric vehicle charging station. College Place received a grant for $48,831, from Pacific Power for the station. The grant will allow College Place to install two chargers in the parking lot of City Hall, 625 S. College Ave. The city expects to finish the project by the summer of 2020.

The grant will cover the cost of the charging equipment, a network that gathers and collects data in an ongoing fashion, upgrades to electrical service, trenching, paving, and all other construction costs, said Eva DeCesaro, the grant program manager.

Two ChargePoint chargers will be installed, “they have maps that have where all these charges are all over the country, basically you just log onto it with an app on your phone and with those quicker chargers you can have a fully charged vehicle in about 30 minutes,” said City Administrator Mike Rizzitiello.

There will be no cost to the city for this station but the city will not receive revenue.

Rizzitiello said the city contracted with the provider ChargePoint so they would not have to cover maintenance costs and upkeep, instead that will be provided by ChargePoint.

There is no set cost for using the station yet, according to Rizzitiello.

Driving with electricity is estimated to be the equivalent of $0.91 per “eGallon” in Washington, compared to $3.29 per gallon of gasoline, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s eGallon calculation tool.

College Place received the grant because they would use the station for non-residential purposes available to the public and use Pacific Power as their energy provider, according to DeCesaro.

The city will allow Pacific Power to collect data on which locations are more accessible, which brands are more reliable, and which communities that have chargers make the most sense, said the grant program manager.

“Were looking forward and modernizing our grid and so we’re hoping to get a better sense of how these chargers are being used … so what were looking for is ongoing data about how often these chargers are being used,” DeCesaro said.

The electric vehicle charging station grant is a pilot program for small communities in Washington, Oregon and California that want to install a charging station. Pacific Power has had seven grant recipients in Washington and 39 total, she said.

Pacific Power has awarded $250,000 and still has almost one million dollars left to award, said DeCesaro.

Increasing the amount of charging stations available is the purpose of this grant.

“We’re looking to support our communities and making sure there is greater access, there is more available, so as more and more folks adopt electric vehicles they have more resources and options available to them,” the grant program manager said.

This is the second electric vehicle charging station the city has been involved with.

College Place has another charger which they partnered on a grant with Walla Walla University for. The charger was from Columbia REA and is a level two charger that takes three to six hours to fully charge a vehicle.

The use of the charging station is free for anyone and is paid for by Walla Walla University, according to official documents.

This charging station is already open but there will be a ribbon cutting for this new charger on Dec. 10 at 11 a.m. at Southwest Fourth Street and South College Avenue, according to Rizzitiello.

A couple years ago, citizens stated in a survey that there was a lack of chargers in the area of College Place.

Rizzitiello said the city is happy to be putting another station in and working toward sustainability.

Chloe LeValley can be reached at chloelevalley@wwub.com or 509-526-8326.

Chloe LeValley covers the cities of Walla Walla and College Place as well as agriculture and the environment in the Walla Walla Valley. She is a graduate of San Francisco State University and joined the Union-Bulletin's team in October 2019.

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