Rehoboth Beach to Vote on EV Charging Stations

City Commissioners Seeking Public Feedback. Set to Vote August 15, 2014

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There’s finally some news to report on the pair of electric vehicle charging stations proposed for Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The City Commissioners met on August 4, 2014 and continued the discussion with Dr. Willet Kempton and Kathleen Harris of the University of Delaware.

At the initial discussion in May, the commissioners seemed to be split on the idea with Mayor Sam Cooper saying that he thinks the private sector should be providing the stations not the taxpayers. They are currently seeking input from the public and will vote whether or not to install the two charging stations at their August 15th meeting.

Three possible sites were considered and presented by city manager Sharon Lynn and the preferred choice of the three is at a small park next to the Henlopen Condominiums near the north end of the boardwalk. The other two sites considered were the Visitor’s Center and a city owned parking lot near the Library and Senior Center.

The triangular-shaped park which the commissioner’s referred to as Mariner’s Park but is labeled Surfside Park on the map, has an electrical transformer in one corner and metered parking spaces around the perimeter. The transformer will need to be upgraded and Delmarva Power has offered to do that work free of charge. The materials to upgrade the existing meter, and lay the wiring and concrete pads for the charging stations are estimated to be less than $1,000 which Dr. Kempton said the program will pay for. The labor to install the stations will be provided by the city.

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Dr. Kempton approached the commissioners about becoming a partner in the grant-funded program because Rehoboth Beach was determined to be a strategic location to recharge electric vehicles that are traveling within the state. The idea is to place the stations within 50 miles of each other throughout the entire state. The stations are high-amp Level 2 stations manufactured by Millbank that retail for $1,500 each.

Mayor Sam Cooper said, “I’m still not convinced it’s something that we as a municipality ought to be endeavoring, I think it’s a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to take on. I just don’t feel it’s something we ought to be spending taxpayer money on.”

Commissioner Stan Mills said, “I think it shows some goodwill to partner with the University of Delaware, DNREC and the state in promoting the use of electric vehicles statewide.” He concluded that he’d like to solicit input from the public over the next several weeks and take up the question at the next meeting.

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Parking spaces and electrical transformer at spot favored to place two EV charging stations.
I listened to the entire proceeding and in my opinion, the commissioners were well informed about EV charging and asked relevant questions about charging speed, the durability and upgrade-ability of the equipment and if the current standard will become obsolete soon. They also understand that the charging stations will meet the needs of drivers of electric cars that can take full advantage of the 18 kW high-speed charging. One commissioner specifically said that some of their correspondence came specifically from Tesla owners, and asked if they can benefit from high-speed charging.

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One of the commissioners asked if there have been many inquiries from EV owners asking about charging stations and if the stations would help the image of the city. Carol Everhart of the local Chamber of Commerce said, “There are requests for it, it’s not a tremendous number but I think it’s where the cars are going.” She added, “I think it’s a positive if it can be accomplished. It’s certainly not a negative in any way.”

Here is contact info for the Mayor and Board of Commissioners. They are scheduled to vote on August 15, 2014.

UPDATE: On August 15, 2014, the Rehoboth Beach Commissioners voted in favor of the charging stations.

@Lanny