Massachusetts Community Continues EV Infrastructure Push

Since 2016, leaders in the town of Cohasset have been implementing electric vehicles and the supporting infrastructure wherever they can. The recent addition of six new charging stations brings the total up to 18.

EV charging station_shutterstock_663936373
(TNS)—Cohasset leaders gathered in celebration on Sunday as the town continues to sit at the forefront of the electronic infrastructure push in Massachusetts.

In 2016, Cohasset christened its first fleet of electric vehicles for town employee use after receiving a grant from the state's Electric Vehicle Incentive Program.

After a three-year lease with local dealer Coastal Nissan ran out in 2019, the town re-upped and rolled out another wave of vehicles last February.

Around the same time, the town procured another grant in the amount of $37,500 from the Department of Environmental Protection.

That grant would be used to install six new vehicle charging stations at the Middle/High School, the Parking Way lot, and the Paul Pratt Memorial Library.

Each station is equipped with a pair of high-speed electric vehicle chargers. The town now has 18 charging ports, up from the original two in place at Town Hall and two more at the Recreation Department.

The grant was part of more than $2 million awarded to pay the majority costs for about 200 new electric vehicle chargers across Massachusetts.

An unveiling ceremony had originally been planned for last February, but was delayed due to weather and later the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, last Sunday, town officials gathered to mark the installation.

Alternative Energy Committee Chair Tanya Bodell served as the master of ceremonies, thanking members of town leadership for their support of the "efforts to go green and help the environment while saving money for the Town."

Town Manager Chris Senior spoke at the event, commending the efforts of the Alternative Energy Committee (AEC) in making Cohasset greener.

"When I came to Cohasset there was clearly an interest in going green, [but] there's only so many hours in a day," Senior said. "The Alternative Energy Committee jumped in and said we want to be a green community, we'll help carry the burden on some of these big issues. And they did, so becoming a green community was the first big step and right behind me today is part of our ongoing commitment."

Cohasset has already seen the results of their electric vehicle fleet and charging stations pay off.

According to Brianna Bennett, an advisor for the AEC, the new charging stations have already avoided 6,617 kg of greenhouse gas emissions.

"That's like planting 170 trees and letting them grow for 10 years," Bennett said.
Members of the Select Board who have personally gotten on the EV bandwagon also offered praise at the event.

"This is a new technology that is really going to change how transportation is done," Selectman Paul Shubert, a Tesla owner, said. "These are incredible efficient."
Selectman Corey Evans, an EV owner himself, said perks of the chargers could work to drive business in town.

"One of the things we're working on is trying to get more people downtown to go to the restaurants and go shopping," Evans said. "So one thing you should be aware of if you drive an electric car, we have two or four electric car charging spots here in town. So please come downtown, get dinner, do some shopping, get a top off."

Currently, residents can make use of any of the charging stations in town at no cost. Bennett stated that the town intends to keep the stations free to use through the summer, and are discussing future prices at the moment.

"Even when they do start charging, it will be a lot cheaper than you're seeing in other towns," Bennett said.

The new stations put Cohasset ahead of the curve compared to other towns in Massachusetts as the state makes its push towards decarbonizing. It's a move that town officials believe could pay dividends in the future.

"We're going to see a dramatic shift towards electric vehicles, these charging stations are really important for accessibility," Bennett said.

State officials have mandated that by 2030, all new cars sold in Massachusetts will be electric. With Cohasset ahead of the times in terms of establishing electric infrastructure, the town could become an even more attractive spot for visitors to the South Shore.

Sunday's event was livestreamed online, and will be shown on 143TV later this week. The is also posted on 143TV's YouTube page, where more information on the new charging stations is available.

©2021 Wicked Local South/Mariner, Marshfield, Mass. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.