On May 5, 2014, Professor Willett Kempton of the University of Delaware presented a proposal to locate electric vehicle charging stations in Rehoboth Beach to the city commissioners. The officials agreed to consider the proposal which intrigued some of the commissioners although some of them balked at the idea. The commissioners asked City Manager Sharon Lynn to investigate possible locations for the charging stations.
Dr. Kempton is leading a program in partnership with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) to place a number of EV charging stations throughout the state at 50 mile intervals. DNREC is providing the funding and UD is implementing it. Kempton’s group has identified strategic geographic locations to place the charging stations based on analysis of the travel capabilities of limited range EVs such as the Nissan Leaf.
The network is being designed to primarily support EV travel within the state with a secondary purpose as a destination charge facility. The goal is to have stations within 50 miles of each other with easy on/off access to highways to enable en-route charging throughout the entire state.
The funding will be provided by an $80,000 state grant and he is asking for help to identify a suitable location within the city of Rehoboth Beach and perhaps some small effort towards installation. These will be 16-kilowatt stations according to several news reports.
Listen to the presentation and comments by the city commissioners on this audio recording, starting at 0:16:00. The objections seemed to be based on the perception that there are very few plug in vehicles. Others thought that public funds should not be used to provide charging facilities and that they should be supplied by private businesses, such as hotels, to attract customers. Mayor Sam Cooper said, “I’m agnostic on electric cars. If you want one, fine, but you got to know what you are buying. You can’t expect to be bailed out by the city of Rehoboth Beach. If there is a demand, it’s ripe for some private entity to do it.”
Some of the city leaders seem to think that nobody travels there in an electric car. I’ve driven there twice from the Washington, DC area and have sent the Mayor, Commissioners and City Manager an email letting them know that I do visit Rehoboth Beach in an electric car and that I support the UD/DNREC proposal to install a couple of high-power (16 kW) Level 2 charging stations in town. Here is contact info for the Rehoboth Beach Mayor, Board of Commissioners and the City Manager.
UPDATE: The charging stations are now installed and operational. August, 2015