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Co-op Adds Electric Car Chargers

No electric car driver wants to run out of juice—especially not during winter in New Hampshire. So the state’s only electric cooperative is working to add more charging stations.

NHEC’s Bill Vecchio charges a Toyota Prius PHEV at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort, which participates in the charger pilot program. (Photo By: NHEC)

NHEC’s Bill Vecchio charges a Toyota Prius PHEV at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort, which participates in the charger pilot program. (Photo By: NHEC)
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Four new stations have been installed, and at least two more are on the way, through a program involving New Hampshire Electric Cooperative and some of its commercial members.

The stations are at resorts and inns—for good reason. After home and work, the third most popular place to charge an electric car is at a location where the driver will stay “one to three hours or longer,” said Gary Lemay, NHEC renewable energy engineer.

“That makes these hotels and resorts ideal locations for EV charging stations,” Lemay added.

Charging time depends on the vehicle, according to Seth Wheeler, communications administrator at NHEC. Using the 240-volt Level II charger, a plug-in hybrid Toyota Prius can take 45-60 minutes to charge, while Chevrolet Volt PHEV takes 3-4 hours.

Drivers won’t have to pay to charge. “The host locations are paying for the kilowatt-hours consumed,” Wheeler said, adding that each location decides whether to restrict usage to its guests or open it to the public.

The co-op estimates New Hampshire has just 13 of the Level II public charging stations. Most are south of Concord, which puts them closer to the Massachusetts border than to NHEC’s Plymouth headquarters. The hope is that the charging stations will help drivers overcome “range anxiety”—the fear of a drained battery—by knowing there’s a place to “fill up.”
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