If you drive an electric vehicle, there’s a new local option in how to keep it charged.
The City of Sequim opened a new charging station at the former Clallam County Public Utility District (PUD) substation at 410 E. Washington St.
“This is a big opportunity to step forward,” said Sequim mayor Dennis Smith at the ceremony. “This was a smooth process, and we’re hopeful of an expansion of our partnership with the Clallam PUD thanks to this project.”
The PUD still maintains the substation property, and has been working on a community solar project on the property.
Already in discussions with the PUD to utilize the substation’s parking lot, city officials expressed interest in finding a home for a new electric vehicle charging station, according to PUD general manager Doug Nass, who spoke at the event.
“We knew we had what the city needed for this project,” Nass said. “It just made sense to form this partnership.”
PUD commissioner Will Purser said part of this project was possible thanks to a program called the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Transportation Alliance, which he said would soon be bringing more EV charging stations to the Olympic Peninsula to better support the vehicles in the region.
The two chargers at the station can work with any electric vehicle, unlike the Tesla-specific charging stations at the Holiday Inn further down East Washington Street.
The chargers, manufactured by Maryland-based SemaConnect, will charge most EV’s at a rate of about 25 miles of range per hour, according to company representative Eric Smith, who was present for the opening ceremony.
“Stations like this are very good for people driving through the area,” Smith said.
“It gives them time to comfortably eat lunch and explore a little bit. People who own these cars knowing that a station like this is here also makes them more likely to visit period.”
Ann Soule, the resource manager for Sequim’s public works department, said the site is prepared for a second set of SemaConnect chargers as well; there is no timeline set for their installation, however.
Soule confirmed that until at least January the chargers will be completely free to use. The city is discussing plans to make the chargers free to use for the first three hours, with an hourly fee after that point.
Smith said he is a fan of hourly models like that, as the actual cost of the electricity is negligible.
“It really is more about how long a car stays there,” he said. “If you just charge them for the electricity, there’s no incentive to move, and the charger could be tied up for hours. Charging by the hour keeps things moving.”