Buena Vista area drivers have access to the most modern electric vehicle charging station available. Through a $39,000 grant awarded from the state of Colorado, Sangre de Cristo Electric Association, Inc., installed Level 2 and Level 3 electric vehicle charging units in the South Main neighborhood in Spring 2019.
The grant was awarded as part of the Charge Ahead Colorado program. The program is administered by the Colorado Energy Office to encourage use of electric vehicles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote energy security through reliance on domestic electricity, and drive an innovative market for new technology.
Electric vehicle chargers now fall into one of three categories.
- A Level 1 charger is generally for home use and typically requires an 8-hour charge to re-power a vehicle after the battery has been discharged.
- A Level 2 charger generally takes 3 hours to charge a vehicle. Two dual-slot Level 2 chargers were installed by the town of Buena Vista.
- A Level 3 charger cuts charging time down to a half hour. The South Main charging stations installed by SDCEA have two slots for Level 2 charges, and one for Level 3 charges.
The South Main neighborhood project is part of a larger program to deploy electric vehicle charging stations throughout the state of Colorado. Range anxiety, or the inability to find public charging, currently discourages the purchase of electric vehicles. Installing charging stations, known as Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE), alleviates that concern and allows electric vehicles to proliferate, according to the Colorado Energy Office.
The charging stations are located in the now-undeveloped parking area northwest of the Eddyline Restaurant. Open for public use, the charging stations accommodate a variety of electric vehicle makes and models. The South Main station is currently the only Level 3 non-Tesla charging station in the region.
Besides being convenient for local drivers to access, the station is expected to bring an economic benefit to the area, attracting visitors to pull off US 285/24 to charge their vehicles. Data collected from use of the station will be used for consumer education and to determine use patterns and the economic model needed for future charging stations.
“This EVSE project and grant request is complementary to SDCEA’s efforts to install a 2-megawatt solar facility at the local Colorado Department of Corrections Buena Vista Correctional Complex,” SDCEA CEO Paul Erickson said. “Each of these projects is being done by SDCEA in partnership with other state or local governmental organizations which all support smart investments in renewable energy and technologies.”
In June 2019, SDCEA also acquired two additional 2-Port, Level 2 Charging Stations from the Town of Buena Vista.
- The first one is just south of the 200 block (Town Hall) of East Main St. on the west side of S. Railroad St. in a public parking area.
- The second location is at the Buena Vista River Park on the north side of the park building in a public parking area.
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