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USA: Electric Vehicle Charging Station is Up and Running

The region’s newest charging station officially opened in West Hartford on Wednesday.

West Hartford town officials and representatives from Connecticut Light & Power and Northeast Utilities gathered in the municipal parking lot on Arapahoe Road Wednesday afternoon to cut the ribbon on West Hartford’s new electric vehicle charging station.

A Chevy Volt was already parked in the spot, and after pulling the ribbon and uncovering the charging station, Mayor Scott Slifka had the honor of plugging in the car.

“This is easier than a gas pump!” said Slifka as he plugged the Volt into the charging station.

The feasibility of plug-in car charging is currently being studied in the region. “This car is like that giant Motorola phone we once had … this could be the future,” said Einat Dorobantzu, CL&P Manager of Technology Integration.

The charging station is part of a electric vehicle research project being undertaken by CL&P, explained Watson Collins of Northeast Utilities, CL&P’s parent company. Collins said the company originally hoped to receive a federal grant for the project, but decided to move forward anyway, even though the grant opportunity fell through.

The study, Dorobantzu said, will determine whether or not people will use the charging station and how long they will keep their car plugged in. It will also help determine whether or not it makes sense to build a network of charging stations.

Dorobantzu explained that it take four hours to charge the Volt if the power is completely drained. Charging takes eight hours at home, because of the lower voltage.

The Volt will run for approximately 40 miles on a charge, but also has a gas tank which will allow the vehicle to operate for approximately 300 additional miles. The car automatically transitions to gasoline power once the electical charge is depleted. “If you ran out of charge on the highway, you wouldn’t even know,” Dorobantzu said.


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