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Southold opens up electric car charging stations to the public

10/06/2015 1:22 PM |

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The Southold Town Board voted Tuesday night to allow residents with electric cars to use two of the town’s charging stations, according to a discussion at the board’s meeting earlier that day.

The two dual-port ChargePoint charging stations — located at Town Hall and the Peconic Community Center — would be available for residents to use for a maximum of four hours, said town comptroller John Cushman.

The Peconic Community Center charging station is available all day, while the Town Hall charger is only open after regular business hours. Residents would have to register to use the charging stations, and would be charged a flat $2 fee for each use, he said.

“We could adjust that at any time,” Mr. Cushman said.

“It’s a good starting point,” added Karen McLaughlin, director of Southold Town’s senior services.

The town currently has three electric or hybrid vehicles that use the charging stations in its 16-vehicle fleet, Ms. McLaughlin said. Those vehicles are saving the town thousands each year in fuel and repair costs.

The town has managed to reduce “per mile” cost by about a third compared to last year, she said, a savings of about $8,000. Next year, the vehicles could cut costs by half.

“I think we’re going in the right direction,” Ms. McLaughlin said.

During the meeting Tuesday morning, Ms. McLaughlin suggested board members explore purchasing more electric vehicles, saying the existing cars have be a success for the Town.

Supervisor Scott Russell said the town wasn’t planning to buy more vehicles to add to the fleet, but would try to replace existing vehicles  — some of which get below 15 miles per gallon — with the more fuel-efficient and greener electric cars and hybrids.

We’re bringing them into the fold as these vehicles in the fleet … outlive their useful service,” he said. The town will also try to land a state grant that would pay for more charging stations at other locations around town.

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Photo caption: The Southold Town charging station at Town Hall, which may soon be open for public use. (Credit: Paul Squire) 

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