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USA: Now he can charge up his car at VCU

Russell Beyer has the electric vehicle and the will to use it for his Richmond-area tax business. He just needs more opportunities to charge it while he makes his rounds.

“I’ve charged it since I’ve been here,” Beyer said after a news conference Tuesday in the Virginia Commonwealth University parking deck on West Broad Street.

The two charging stations in the VCU garage are among an estimated 128 in Virginia, including two more electric vehicle chargers in a staff and faculty garage on the university’s medical campus.

But a report released Tuesday by Environment Virginia Research & Policy Center called on the state to make it easier and more attractive for businesses to install electric vehicle charging stations to benefit employees and customers.

“To make plug-in vehicles a choice for more consumers, Environment Virginia’s report calls for more work to be done to build the infrastructure of the charging stations that can serve the vehicles, as well as more investment in the technologies that will drive down prices,” the group said in a statement announcing the report, “Charging Forward.”

Laura Anderson, a state organizer for the Washington-based group, said Virginia ranks 13th in the number of public charging stations. “So we’re doing great, but not as great as (eighth-ranked) Maryland,” she said.

The Richmond Electric Vehicle Initiative is pushing to expand the opportunities in the area, including for potential workers to be certified to work on the vehicles and charging technologies.

“Our part of the initiative is the educational process,” said Melissa R. Gay, project manager at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.

The VCU charging stations also are part of a larger initiative by the university to reduce carbon emissions and use of petroleum to fuel vehicles. They provide opportunities for charging vehicles such as Beyer’s with 220-volt capacity, which takes less time than with conventional 110-volt outlets.

“It’s leading edge,” said Jacek Ghosh, director of sustainability in facilities management at VCU. “The university is trying to be ahead of the curve in providing them.”

The two stations in the garage at West Broad and Harrison streets are open to anyone who parks there. Knowing the stations are there is a different issue.


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