Warwick getting charged up

Electric car charging stations to be installed in town
Imagine a world where everyone drives an electric car, where batteries charge at electric stations while drivers run errands, shop for groceries or eat at restaurants.

That's the world Warwick town and village officials envision and are working toward.

Two electric car charging stations will be installed in Warwick, one in the town perhaps at Price Chopper, ShopRite or Town Hall and the other at the village's South Street municipal parking lot.

Officials expect to break ground next month and complete work by early summer.

A federal Department of Energy Clean Cities grant awarded to Warwick last fall for $10,695, plus matching funds from the town and village, will pay for the stations.

Manufactured by Coulomb Technologies in Campbell, Calif., these stations are networked, so drivers with smart phones can check which chargers are unoccupied and receive text messages or e-mails when charging is complete.

It generally takes between 31/2 and four hours to charge an electric car, but that varies by the vehicle, said Coulomb spokeswoman Anne Smith. On average, electric vehicles can travel 40 miles on a charge. After that, cars such as the Chevrolet Volt produce energy through a gas generator to power the vehicle for hundreds of miles on a single tank of gas.

While there isn't a huge need for the stations in Warwick now, officials hope demand increases as more electric vehicles hit the roadways. Ten major auto manufacturers, including Chevy, BMW, Volkswagen and Nissan, will make electric vehicles available to the public this year, said Coulomb.

"I think what we're doing in a leadership role is saying that this is the way to go in this country," village Mayor Michael Newhard said. "We have to look at alternatives, and this is definitely an alternative."

These stations fit in with Warwick's goal of being on the forefront of new, sustainable technology.

"We wanted to try to put (the charging stations) in a place that was convenient to the public and encourage people to make the investment in an electric vehicle," town Supervisor Michael Sweeton said.

"No matter where you land in the spectrum of politics," he said, "I think everyone is in agreement that our long-term future is ending our dependence on foreign oil."
Coulomb Technologies
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