Ocean City Today

Electric car charging cost $2 hour

By Greg Ellison | Apr 12, 2018
Photo by: Greg Ellison In addition to upgrading electric car charging stations, Ocean City will institute an hourly fee for using the service beginning this June.

(April 13, 2018) In addition to offering upgraded charging stations for electric vehicles this summer, Ocean City will institute a $2 per hour fee for drivers to juice their rides.

City Engineer Terry McGean updated the City Council about a proposal to install higher voltage charging stations and reviewed associated costs during its meeting on Tuesday.

“In 2016, through a combination of grants from Tesla and the Electric Vehicle Institute, we installed charging stations at four different locations in town,” he said.

At that time, the vehicle institute provided Level 1 charging stations, which were installed at the Downtown Recreation Complex on 3rd Street, by Northside Park on 125th Street, the 100th Street municipal parking lot and the convention center, McGean said.

“They take a very long time to charge an electric vehicle,” he said. “At the convention center, we had two dedicated Tesla and one universal charger on the south lot.”

With the exception of the convention center station, McGean said the other charging locations have seen minimal usage.

“The convention center cost has averaged $1,500 per year,” he said. “Those are the stations that are getting a lot of use.”

McGean said the Electric Vehicle Institute is requesting permission to upgrade the existing stations with Level 2 equipment.

“The good news is they want to continue to work with us to maximize the availability,” he said. “There is no cost to us when they install these.”

McGean said the group has also proposed removing two Level 1 charging stations on 3rd Street, which have been rarely used,

“I’m requesting those get moved to the Worcester Street parking lot,” he said.

The plans also include adding a Level 3 charger to the convention center parking lot, McGean said.

In light of the boosted power available, McGean said the city would need to recoup the cost for increased utility demands.

“When you put chargers in that are truly functional, they’re going to get used and it does cost us,” he said.

McGean said based on Level 2 charging stations costing on average $1.25 per hour, and associated costs for equipment maintenance; the city should attach a fee.

“I felt a $2 per hour rate would be reasonable,” he said.

In lieu of further equipment investments to permit payments at charging stations, McGean proposed incorporating the recently introduced Park Mobile phone app.

“What I’m suggesting is we require people … would have to have the Park Mobile app,” he said. “There are other installations throughout the country where you have to have an app on your phone to utilize the station.”

This fee would be in addition to the traditional cost at the parking lots on 100th and Worcester streets. There in no fee to park at the convention center lot or on 125th Street.

“The cost to park in those spaces would be $4 per hour, so it would be $2 per hour more,” he said.

“The average [charge] time is three to four hours.”

Councilman Dennis Dare said while he has no issues with electric vehicles, providing power at no cost seemed questionable when it was previously proposed.

“I didn’t think the free electric was something that needed to be done,” he said.

Dare also noted Level 1 chargers take “all night,” to charge vehicle batteries.

“Level 2 is about four hours, but you can get to 80 percent in less time,” he said. “Level 3 is going to be even better, that gets into 20 minutes to an hour.”

Councilman John Gehrig was also in agreement resources should not be provided for free.

“Everyone should be paying for their fuel, whether it’s liquid or electric,” he said.

The council voted 6-0, with Dare out of the room, to approve the proposal to install new charging stations and implement hourly fees. McGean said the new rates would become effective on June 1.

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