The Town of East Hampton is moving rapidly toward installing numerous electric vehicle charging ports, to be used to power both a new fleet of electric cars owned by the town, as well as vehicles owned by the general public. Kim Shaw, who heads the town’s Natural Resources Department, and Lauren Steinberg, an environmental analyst for the department, laid out the future for the town board during its work session December 11 at the Montauk Firehouse.
The town, Shaw told the board, has five Nissan Leaf electric vehicles on order, due for delivery in February. “Our first priority is to get some additional charging stations in on the town hall campus.”
The good news, she said, is that the state is funding the work. “The town is the recipient of a $100,000 award from the Clean Energy Communities program,” she said. “Our commitment back to the state was to install charging stations for a fleet of electric cars for the town, and also to install charging stations throughout the community.”
Currently, there is just one charging port in the town’s Pantigo Road government complex. Located by the police substation, the charging port is outmoded, Shaw explained, and will be replaced with what she described as a “sleek” charging station that can handle two electric vehicles at one time. In addition, the town will be placing two more of the double-ported charging stations on the other side of the police substation.
The portals, Steinberg told the board, are considered “level two.” She said, “The level two takes four to six hours to fully charge the average vehicle,” adding that each hour of charging gives the vehicle another 20 miles of range. Town employees using the new electric vehicles will just swipe a key fob and plug in. An app will be available to the general public, who will be able to scan their phone, and power up. The town currently bills the public $2.50 an hour for using the charging stations, Steinberg said.
The state, Shaw said, will issue a $4000 rebate for each charging station installed.
Shaw’s department is also looking to install four more charging ports in the Amagansett municipal parking lot. Councilman David Lys, who acts as liaison between the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee and the board, said he had discussed the plan with ACAC members, who supported the idea. However, there was concern about what would happen during extreme snow events. The charging ports would have to be positioned away from areas used in the lot for snow storage.
Two other parking lots owned by East Hampton are considered as candidates for charging stations. One is the lot in Montauk, built just a couple of years ago on the south side of South Euclid Avenue. “Tesla is interested in this property in Montauk,” she said. Partnering with the town, Tesla would pick up the cost of an advanced charger at that location.
The other lot being looked at is the one at the Amagansett train station.
Shaw said East Hampton Village recently installed chargers in its long-term parking lot, while Tesla reports heavy usage at charging stations on County Road 39.
Steinberg told the board that the production of gas-only vehicles is being discontinued by Volvo, with other companies quickly following suit.
“East Hampton has always been cutting edge,” Shaw said. “This is just getting ahead of the curve. With a total rebate from the state, it is a no brainer.”
The discussion sparked a sidebar between Lys and fellow board member Jeffrey Bragman. Both agreed that the town board needs to look at possibly amending the town code to encourage businesses with new site plans to explore
installing charging stations, as well.