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Baltimore installs 'fast' charger for electric cars outside City Hall

Baltimore installs 'fast' charger for electric cars outside City Hall
Matt Weaver, center, of Education and Mindfulness Baltimore, looks at an electric car charging station near City Hall this morning. Marcia Collins of DPW stands on right. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore's Department of Public Works has installed a "fast" charger for electric cars outside City Hall — part of an effort to encourage more city residents to drive vehicles that create less pollution, officials said Wednesday.

The city has installed more than 20 charging stations throughout Baltimore, most at city-owned garages. But the new "DC Fast Charger," which is at the corner of Lexington and Gay streets, means motorists can charge their vehicles in 30 minutes, much less time than the six hours it can take to fully charge a car.

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It costs about $9 to fully charge a vehicle with the new "fast" charger, officials said.

City officials said electric vehicles "are cleaner, do not burn gasoline, and have no tailpipe emissions." The new charger was paid for by $40,000 from Nissan and $5,000 from the Maryland Energy Administration.

DPW's Office of Sustainable Energy also is conducting a $52,500 pilot program in which city employees are test-driving four different electric vehicles — a Chevy Spark, a Smart Fortwo, a Nissan Leaf, and a VW e-Golf — as part of the city's fleet. The pilot program will determine whether and how quickly the electric cars save money.

"Electric vehicles are keeping harmful tailpipe emissions out of our air, and they are reducing our reliance on fossil fuels," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

Twitter.com/lukebroadwater

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