Library hosts public electric vehicle charger as sales trend ticks upward | Western Colorado

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If you’re looking for a charge, head to the library in downtown Grand Junction.

Thanks to a collaboration between Atlasta Solar, Mesa County Public Libraries and a program to install the alternative fuel chargers across the nation, a new electric car charging station should be operational for public use by the end of the month.

The DC level 3, 24W charger located near the 970West Studio at Mesa County Libraries’ Central branch should charge all models of electric cars in less than an hour, said Lou Villaire, co-owner of Atlasta Solar.

“This is the first publicly available DC charger in Mesa County,” he said. “We’re very fortunate to work with the library to be able to tie this into an existing transformer.”

The charging station is being installed “at no cost to the library district at all,” Mesa County Libraries spokesman Bob Kretschman said. “The only thing we have to provide is this parking spot.”

Atlasta Solar is providing the labor and some materials. Other costs of the charging station are provided through $2 billion in settlement funds in the Electrify America program, which aims to deploy electric vehicle charging stations across the U.S.

The program was created after German carmaker Volkswagen was sued over software that allowed its diesel vehicles to dodge emissions tests.

Villaire said electric car users can use the station for free for a few weeks after the charger goes online. After that point, car owners will pay a small fee to use the charger, the equivalent of about $1 per gallon of fuel.

In time Atlasta Solar hopes to install solar panels at the site to mitigate the electricity use.

“What’s happening is we’re biased toward electric vehicles and solar,” Villaire said.

Villaire said Atlasta approached several businesses seeking a partnership, but library officials were quick to respond and offer a space to host the charger.

Electric vehicle charging stations have been popping up around the Grand Valley in recent years, and more Western Slope consumers are seeking out alternative fuel vehicles.

Red Rock Nissan, 2582 U.S. Highway 6&50, sold about five new Nissan Leafs already this year, “which is quite a bit for electric vehicles in this town,” said John Maestas, a salesman at the dealership. He estimated the two remaining 2018 Nissan Leafs on the lot would sell within about a month.

Upgrades offering more torque and features that allow motorists to program the car from a phone are making the vehicle popular with buyers, he said.

“They’ll definitely sell,” Maestas said. “You’re definitely seeing more electric cars on the road.”

A used Chevy Volt doesn’t last more than about a day on the lot at Ed Bozarth Chevrolet Buick, 2595 U.S. Highway 6, said Dave Davis, a salesman at the dealership.

“The used ones get snapped up like that,” he said.

Since the electric cars went on sale in 2011, the dealership has sold up to 60 Volts and 16 Bolts — every one of the electric vehicles that came into Grand Junction, Davis said.

Bozarth and Red Rock Nissan provide charging stations at their dealerships.

Consumers are showing more confidence buying the cars as the batteries improve and the vehicles are able to travel longer distances on a charge, he said.

“I think it will become more and more popular as time goes on,” Davis said.



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