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Hartselle, Ala., Considers First Public EV Charging Station

The Hartselle City Council will soon be voting on a proposal that would create the first publicly-owned electric vehicle charging station in all of Morgan County to bolster economic development.

by Deangelo McDaniel, The Decatur Daily / December 18, 2019

(TNS) — The Hartselle City Council is scheduled to vote this morning on a proposal that would create the first publicly-owned electrical vehicle charging station in Morgan County.

“This is a way to get travelers to downtown Hartselle and this will help economic development,” Mayor Randy Garrison said.

The plan is for the city to partner with Hartselle Utilities and construct the station near one of the public parking lots downtown, according to the mayor.

The estimated cost of the station is about $10,000.

Garrison said people will be able to recharge their vehicles at no cost, but will be charged $1 per hour if they do not pick up their vehicle after receiving a text letting them know it is ready.

“We think this will drive people off I-65 to downtown,” he said, adding that there are smartphone apps that identify where charging stations are located.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Alabama has 136 electric charging stations with 296 outlets.

Hartselle Utilities General Manager Bob Sittason said there are very few charging stations near Interstate 65 between Birmingham and Nashville.

He said Hartselle Utilities is part of a seven state cooperative of electric companies that distribute power for the Tennessee Valley Authority and the group is trying to get ahead of the curve.

"Electric vehicles are coming," Sittason added.

More than 1.3 million electric vehicles had been sold in the U.S. as of September 2019, according to the Edison Electric Institute, an association that represents investor-owned electric companies.

The organization estimates that 18.7 million electric vehicles will be on the road by 2030 and that there will be a need for 9.6 million charging ports.

Council President Kenny Thompson said he was not aware of anyone in Hartselle with an electric vehicle, but he believes travelers will spend money downtown if they use the station.

“We need to have some discussion about this, but it seems like a good idea,” he said.

Beginning Jan. 1, owners in Alabama will pay a tax surcharge of $200 for electric vehicles and $100 for plug-in hybrids, according to Lawrence County Revenue Commissioner Brad Henderson.

The fees are part of the Rebuild Alabama legislation, which over the next three years will add 10 cents per gallon to the cost of gasoline and diesel.

The fees for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids will increase by $3 in 2023 and increase an additional $3 every four years after 2023.

©2019 The Decatur Daily (Decatur, Ala.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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