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K-State parking garage director says new charging stations underutilized | The Collegian

The new electric car charging stations in the K-State Union parking garage are off to a start, albeit a slow one.

The garage has installed charging station areas reserved for exclusive use by electric vehicle owners. Located on the first floor, these stations allow users to recharge their cars at a cost of $3 for the first hour and $1 for every hour after that, according to a Jan. 30 K-State press release. The charging stations are run on a first-come first-serve basis.

“The bottom line is that no one has used it yet,” said Darwin Abbott, director of parking services. “It’s not the result that any of us wanted.”

Current demand for the stations is not high, but having such little use was unexpected, Abbott said. The stations themselves are not what was expected, either.

“The original intent was to get ten solar-powered charging stations built,” Abbott said. “We figured it would be a little slow.”

According to new technology intelligence company Pike Research, America will be the leader in electric car sales by 2020, with electric model interest going up by outstanding rates. The wave of sales and interest may not be present in the midwest, however.

The reason for the change from solar power to indoor charging was not specified. Energy-efficient solar power is still the end goal, and the stations currently installed are just a step toward that.

“What’s in the garages now is a prototype,” said Anil Pahwa, professor of electrical and computer engineering. “Eventually we would like to have solar-paneled charging stations outside of the parking lot.”



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