Driving an electric vehicle along Route 50 to the Maryland beaches will soon be far more practical. Royal Farms stores in Cambridge, Salisbury, and Ocean City have broken ground for SAE Combo and CHAdeMO fast charging stations. Once they are operational, these fast chargers will allow folks driving a BMW i3, Chevy Spark EV, Nissan LEAF or other fast charging equipped EV to hopscotch their way along Rt. 50 from the Washington-Baltimore area to Ocean City.
Route 50 to Ocean City Becoming “Electrified”
In March, the Maryland Energy Administration announced the 2015 Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program (EVIP) grant winners. The $1,000,000 EVIP grant will be used to install fast chargers throughout the state by October 1, 2016. The grant recipients must pay for at least half the cost themselves and it is a requirement to support both SAE Combined Charging System (CCS) and CHAdeMO standards at each location.
The Royal Farms convenience store chain won grant funds to install chargers at 15 of their stores. I’ve been scouting the Royal Farms stores in Cambridge, Salisbury, and Ocean City for signs of construction every time I happen to drive past them. Sometimes I would go in and ask the store manager when the charging stations were coming. At first they had no idea what I was talking about. In recent months they knew about the plans, but didn’t know exactly when they would be installed.
Cambridge, Salisbury and Ocean City Coming Soon
This weekend, my search finally paid off. I was driving out to Ocean City and as I approached the Royal Farms on the south side of Cambridge, my eyes scanned the edges of the parking lot where a charging station would likely be installed. I caught sight of two green bollards next to some new electrical panels. As I drew closer, I saw a freshly poured concrete pad with electrical conduit jutting out. The chargers were not installed yet, but construction was well under way.
As I traveled east on Rt. 50, I stopped at the Royal Farms in Salisbury and Ocean City. The construction at both locations was at a similar state of progress as Cambridge. The Salisbury store even had signs in place. An inspection sticker at the Cambridge site had a date of October 21, 2015 on it. I suspect that the ground was broken on all three within the past week or so.
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