by Doug McClure
CABOT – Cabot’s new electric vehicle (EV) charging station opened last Wednesday. The station is a Level 2 charging station. James Wolynetz of the Cabot Conservation Commission said that the highest tier of charging stations, Level 3 such as at Marty’s First Stop, would be “prohibitively expensive for small towns.” Most public charging stations in Vermont are Level 2. The charging station is at the Willey Building on Main Street.
Voters were asked to weigh in on a charging station at last March’s Cabot Town Meeting. In introducing the article, Wolynetz noted that “driving along Route 2 to and from Cabot, you can’t but notice that East Montpelier, Plainfield, and Danville all have Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations. Owning an EV myself and being a resident of Cabot, I began to wonder if Cabot should have its own station, as well, to benefit our downtown businesses and the environment at the same time.”
As presented to voters, the article described a charging station with equipment wholly paid for by Green Mountain Power, with ancillary costs such as signage, labor, and materials covered by a grant from the Cabot Community Association (CCA) and private donations. The plan voted on was to replicate Plainfield’s strategy for its EV charging station, calling it “the most cost-effective and practical option for towns of our size.” The article explained that “as in Plainfield, our system would be a metered, cash donation-only-per use system. Such a system has worked very well for Plainfield. It is intended that the costs of the electricity for charging are to be recouped from the electric vehicle owner utilizing the charging station based on the kilowatt hours used.”
Wolynetz at the time said “The average charging session costs between $1 – $2, which the driver will calculate off the meter and then deposit funds in the cash box. The proposed location of the station is ideal because (1) it is cost-effective, since an electrical conduit already exists there, which saves on installation costs; (2) it is in a highly visible area directly across from our business district, which will allow visitors to Cabot to shop or dine while charging and support our local businesses; and (3) it allows use by cars as well as new electric snow machines. Several of our downtown businesses have expressed 100% support of this project for the obvious benefits it would bring to the local economy. It’s a known fact that EV drivers are more likely to stop, shop, and spend money where EV charging is available.”
Voters agreed, with the final vote being 403 for and 153 against. Ultimately, the amount of money needed in donations and the grant worked out to $2,800, with $2,300 coming from private donations and $500 as a grant from the CCA, according to Wolynetz. Cabot town did not spend taxpayer money on the charging station.
He said that the EV station’s utilization is being monitored. If the station gets substantial use as expected, Wolynetz said “possibly” a second charging station might be installed at Cabot School in the future.
The new charging station runs on the honor system, with a $0.25 per KwH donation requested.