Electric vehicle ‘fast chargers’ installed in Kimball Junction
January 16, 2018
A grant from Rocky Mountain Power has provided the necessary funds for Summit County to install new electric vehicle fast-charging stations next to the Sheldon Richins Building in the Kimball Junction area.
The new stations are capable of charging a vehicle within about 30 minutes. Comparatively, other chargers can take up to eight to 12 hours.
"This was an opportunity Rocky Mountain Power provided to us to help them build electrical-vehicle infrastructure for the north/south corridor of Interstate 15 and the east/west corridor of Interstate 80," said Lisa Yoder, Summit County's sustainability director. "It serves many purposes, including increasing infrastructure capacity for anyone in the community."
The new charging stations were installed over the last few weeks on the north end of the Sheldon Richins Building next to two existing stations. They will be available for access before the end of the month. A private ribbon-cutting event is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, Jan. 17. Rocky Mountain Power's CEO Cindy Crane and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox are expected to be in attendance.
Wednesday's event will also introduce a three-year driver training program that Forth, an electric vehicle advocate, will conduct in partnership with Rocky Mountain Power, according to James Campbell, legislative policy advisor for Rocky Mountain Power and principal investigator for the company's Live Electric program.
"They are going to train transportation-network company drivers, such as Uber and Lyft drivers, about electric vehicles and the goal is to make these driver's ambassadors for electric vehicles," Campbell said. "The Uber and Lyft drivers that participate in this program will get some form of incentives that will reduce their costs when they actually charge at these stations."
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Rocky Mountain Power is partnering with Summit County, Park City, Salt Lake City, the University of Utah and other advocacy and environmental groups to increase the availability of infrastructure for electric vehicles through the Live Electric program.
Rocky Mountain Power received a $4 million grant from the Department of Energy to match the $10 million the company is investing in electric transportation and infrastructure, Campbell said. The grant funded the installation of the chargers at Kimball Junction, as well as an electric-bus charger at the Old Town Transit Center.
Campbell said the goal is to install electric charges along Utah's major corridors, including I-15, I-80 and I-70, and eventually expand into Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.
"We were very interested in that location in Kimball Junction because it just made sense with Interstate 80 as part of a corridor," he said. "It was also critical for the ride-hailing program with Uber and Lyft drivers. We wanted to have a network to connect fast-charging stations between the Salt Lake City International Airport and Park City."
The fast chargers, Yoder said, will help further Summit County's goal of eventually eliminating vehicle emissions.
"It achieves some of the Summit County Council's goal objectives and goals for transitioning our county fleet to alternative-fuel vehicles," she said. "This will ultimately contribute to better air quality and lower emissions countywide. It will reduce tail pipe emission and help us as we transition to 100 percent renewable electric energy."
When the charging stations are available, the information will likely be posted to several online and phone applications that allow drivers to locate and find chargers in their area.
There will not be an initial cost to use the chargers, Yoder said. However that will be re-evaluated after a couple of months. She said the chargers have data management that will allow the county to monitor the usage. She added, "We don't want to charge to the point where we discourage people from using electric vehicles, but we can't give away power endlessly."
Yoder said the installation of the chargers is special because the county is "kind of leading the way" in assisting the transition to electrical vehicles.
"We are extremely grateful for these because we don't have the funds to put in the chargers ourselves," Yoder said. "It really is a huge benefit to the county that we were given this grant. The cost per mile of running an electric vehicle is much lower than running a gasoline vehicle and will benefit the county operations budget."