GRANGEVILLE – A Boise man would like to get a charge out of Grangeville.
Last Monday, Feb. 3, the Grangeville City Council discussed a request by David Bartle to install a fast charger for electric vehicles. Council consensus was favorable toward Mayor Wes Lester investigating the options for further discussion.
“Grangeville is ideally located between Boise, Spokane and Missoula, and a fast charger in your community would attract all electric travelers,” Bartle wrote in a Jan. 27 e-mail to the city. Bartle stated he and his wife, Cindy, have traveled through Grangeville -- stopping for lunch, gas and an overnight stay – and since they now own an electric car, they are encouraging the city to facilitate level 1 fast charging station installation.
“Your local Super 8 has a Tesla wall charger for guests, which is fantastic,” he wrote, “and we will be staying with them and using that on one leg of a trip later this spring.”
Summarizing information on grant opportunities for installation, provided by Bartle, Lester said, for example, Idaho Power is offering 50 percent on level 1 and 2 electric passenger vehicle charging station installation up to $7,500 per site, and $15,000 per customer. City administrator Tonya Kennedy said on some grants, criteria would be stations are located within a half-mile of a main thoroughfare, and be in an area for browsing stores, restaurants and other amenities.
“If the city is interested in doing this, the only place we could do it would be Heritage Square,” Lester said. “What they’re looking for is someplace people could pull in and charge their car, and be able to walk around town, get lunch.” For any other city property, the only other option would be Lions Park, which would not be close enough to recommended amenities.
“Who would be paying for the electricity?” questioned councilor Michael Peterson.
“We’d be selling it,” Lester replied.
Nationwide, electric vehicle charging stations range in available service from free, flat rate, pay as you go, and by subscription. A review of charging stations available in Idaho – provided through Plug In America (pluginamerica.org) from a total 18 providers showed four locations within Idaho County: Super 8 and Bear Den RV Resort in Grangeville, Riverside RV Park in Riggins, and Long Camp RV Park at Kamiah. The map lists the closest stations for fast or supercharging either in Boise or Pullman, Wash.
According to the Idaho County Assessor’s Office, one electric vehicle is currently registered within Idaho County.
“Do we have any idea how many electric cars pass through here?” questioned councilor Amy Farris. “When I saw that on the agenda, it made me giggle because an RV dumping station would be more friendly with the amount of traffic we have coming through here.”
Councilor Beryl Grant said this could be an option to team up with another entity, specifically the Grangeville Chamber of Commerce, to work on.
“It would help downtown businesses,” she said, “if someone were to plug in for an hour, and walk through downtown, go through a couple of stores.”
Councilor Scott Winkler noted the cost of the station was only part of the setup costs, which would include installation and access to power. Lester said he would check further on costs and also visit with Avista for information.