A large swath of New Hampshire’s North Country just became more accessible for drivers of Electric Vehicles (EV) with the opening this month of two new EV chargers at LaPerle’s IGA in Colebrook.
The chargers are the northernmost, publicly-available recharging point in the state and fill a critical gap in the EV charging infrastructure between the White Mountains and southern Quebec.
For Guy LaPerle, owner of LaPerle’s IGA, the chargers are just the latest in a long list of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects he’s undertaken at the supermarket. With guidance and incentives from New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC), LaPerle has installed a 35 kilowatt (kW) solar electric array and installed LED lighting that is saving the business over $1,000 per month in electric costs.
LaPerle was among the first to take advantage of a new NHEC program that offers incentives of 50% of the installed cost up to $5,000 to commercial and municipal members who install EV chargers. LaPerle said he will not charge users for electricity consumed at the charging stations but will install a donation box, the proceeds of which will be given to North Country charities.
“We’re always looking to use renewable energy and make energy efficient choices as a way to use less fossil fuel, protect the environment and preserve our great nation,” said LaPerle.
Installed in the market parking lot, the Level 2 chargers supply 240 volts, similar to what an electric dryer or oven uses. Power goes through the EV charger and a cord that improves safety by waiting to send power to the plug until it’s plugged into an EV. Level 2 chargers allow for a wide range of charging speeds, all the way up to 19.2 kilowatts (kW), or about 70 miles of range per hour of charging.
The number of EV chargers installed in southern and central parts of the state is growing quickly, according to PlugShare.com, a website that maps the state’s charging locations. But publicly available Level 2 chargers are few and far between in the North Country, especially ones that remain open year-round. The installation of LaPerle’s chargers will go a long way towards relieving the “range anxiety” of EV drivers who would otherwise avoid the North Country for fear of being stranded without a place to recharge. Recent advances in battery storage technology have significantly increased the range of most new EVs as well. The new Chevrolet Bolt, for instance, will go an average of 238 miles on a single charge. To encourage more widespread adoption of EV use, NHEC offers incentives up to $1,000 to residential members who purchase an EV in 2017, and up to $2,500 per charger to commercial members who install up to two Level 2 EV chargers. Pre-approval for incentives is required prior to installing the charging station. To learn more, please visit www.nhec.com, or call an EV specialist at 1-800-698-2007.
Learn more on this in the upcoming August issue of Green Energy Times.