The parking lot outside the Carroll County government offices is now home to the county’s first utility-owned, public direct current (DC) fast charger, which is used to charge electric vehicles (EVs).
The members of Carroll’s Board of County Commissioners gathered along with representatives from Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. (BGE) on Tuesday morning to celebrate the new charging station with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, not only thanked BGE, but expressed great anticipation for all the utility will bring to Carroll.
“We are excited for this and looking very much forward to what BGE brings also across the county but this is the the first one out of the gate,” said Wantz.
In June, the commissioners authorized Public Works to apply for EV charging stations. At the time, a BGE representative said the hope was to build about 50 charging stations in Carroll, at no cost to the county.
Commissioner Dennis Frazier, R-District 3, said he hopes the chargers will encourage others to purchase electric vehicles.
“When the infrastructures are out there and you know there’s places along the way where you can charge, especially with quick charges which are like a 15 minute charge, so you can charge, go get something from the store, come back out and go ... I think that will greatly enhance electric vehicles because I think a lot of people are ready to pull the trigger except, where are you going to charge when you try to go cross country or do this and do that?" he said. "So I think both things will help each other out and both will help the environment.”
The DC fast charger takes, on average, about 30 minutes to charge a car, depending on the EV. It costs $0.34 per kWh to charge on the DC fast chargers, according to BGE.
More chargers will be placed in Carroll County as early as next month, with the next one scheduled to be at Carroll Community College, according to Megan Eaves, BGE external affairs manager.
BGE spokesman Richard Yost sees the same outcome as Frazier when it comes to the installation of more charging stations in Carroll County.
“I think the need here comes from the fact that we want chargers to reassure people that if they’re actually shopping for EVs, there’ll actually be a place where they can charge,” Yost said. “It’s kind of chicken and egg — where they know there’s chargers so people say, ‘Now I can consider buying a EV as there are places to park and charge.’”
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Eaves first brought the idea of the chargers to the commissioners, according to Frazier.
The chargers are part of the Maryland Public Service Commission’s order that granted to utilities in Maryland the ability to implement these charging station, according to Kristy Fleischmann Groncki, BGE manager of strategic programs.
“Maryland has a goal of getting 300,000 EVs on the road by 2025 and the utilities are uniquely positioned to be able to help provide this infrastructure to serve our customers,” said Fleischmann Groncki.
This is BGE’s first DC fast charger in the state of Maryland and BGE plans to install 500 throughout its service area, according to Fleischmann Groncki.
Along with the DC fast charger, there is also another level 2 charger that will take up to four hours to charge an EV.
“So if you’re coming to the office building and you’re going to be sitting here for a longer period of time, then you can use the slower charging unit. If you’re only here for a short period time dropping something off and you want a little bit of charge, it’s recommended to use the faster current," Fleischmann Groncki said.
The chargers can be used by downloading an app called Greenlots to one’s phone and tapping the phone to the machine to start the charging session. The mobile app also lets users know when the vehicle is fully charged. For those who do not wish to download the app, there is a number on the side of the charging station to call.