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City of Hood River approves installation of electric vehicle charging station

February 15, 2012

If your electric vehicle is running low on juice, but you still have things to do in downtown Hood River, the City of Hood River will soon have a solution for you.

The city is hopping on the electric vehicle trend by installing two parking spots near downtown with electric vehicle charging stations.

Two spots in the parking lot at Columbia and Seventh, across the street from Hood River Cinemas, will be outfitted with electric vehicle charging stations by AeroVironment Solution Inc. of Monrovia, Calif.

Those wishing to top off their battery will have to do so at a bit of extra cost. In addition to the cost to park in the space, they will also have to pay for the electricity they use in charging the car.

The city and AeroVironment agreed upon an initial 10-year lease for the spots. The lease could go for as long as 30 years if the city agrees to continue after 10 and AeroVironment executes subsequent options in five-year increments.

The city will designate the spots for electric vehicles and will collect 5 percent of the revenue generated from the electricity sales.

City Manager Bob Francis said that signs will direct travelers to the spots, and Mayor Arthur Babitz suggested bringing up the stations with the chamber of commerce to better market them.

One potential obstacle, though, is that the spots will not be designated strictly for electric vehicles. City ordinances would have to be changed to specifically designate the spots for electric vehicles only.

For now, the spots will likely be marked as electric vehicle parking spots, but the city will not have any enforcement measures.

The charging stations will be part of a larger network envisioned by the Oregon Department of Transportation, which could potentially include stations in areas like Cascade Locks, Government Camp and Welches.

According to AeroVironment, as battery chemistries improve, a 25kWh EV battery could be charged 80 percent in under 10 minutes at the charging stations.

"It seems like this is a worthy experiment," Babitz said. "All we are doing is putting forward two parking spots for 10 years."

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