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WESTPORT,CT — August 22, 2011

Westport First Selectman, Gordon Joseloff, speaking at the town's official EV Charging Station ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday, August 22, 2011

Westport First Selectman, Gordon Joseloff, speaking at the town’s official unveiling of a new public EV Charging Station at the Westport Train Station.  Looking on is Jeff Butler, President of CL&P, along with Leo Cirino, President of the Westport Electric Car Club, and Steve Smith, Town of Westport Building Official.

Westport officially unveiled its first public electric vehicle (EV) charging station on August 22nd and became the first municipality in the nation to offer drivers a pay-by-phone option.  KARL Chevrolet’s 2011 Chevy Volt was the first car to receive a charge.

Westport is the first municipality to install a charging station as part of Connecticut Light & Power’s (CL&P) EV research project.  “We’ve worked hard to make Connecticut an early market for EVs,” said Jeff Butler, CL&P’s president and chief operating officer. “We’re excited to see towns like Westport take advantage of the opportunity to become a leader in clean technology.”
Officials from the town of Westport, CL&P, Clipper Creek and Mobile Now LLC were all on hand at the ribbon cutting ceremony.  The new charging station at the Luciano Park Commuter Lot on Charles Street was officially opened at about 3:30pm and is located on the south bound side of the Westport Metro North Train Station parking facility.

The new cell phone technology is provided by Mobile Now LLC, a company focused on digital parking solutions that utilize the latest technology to improve efficiency and lower costs.  After downloading a mobile phone application, Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff plugged the Volt into the charging station and secured a place in technology history as the unit began charging and the car responded with a beep indicating the charge was in process.

“Westport has always been a leader in promoting green and protecting the environment,” said Joseloff. “We are pleased to join CL&P in pioneering this latest effort to encourage Americans to make a lifestyle change to help preserve our planet.”

“By anticipating and supporting the market for new plug-in EVs, we can all benefit from a cleaner, lower-cost and locally available fuel alternative,” said Dan Esty, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. “Connecticut is well positioned to lead in the deployment of electric vehicles and related infrastructure, and this initiative is a step towards achieving our goal of being a national leader.”

The Level II, 240-volt charging station in Westport can fully charge a Chevy Volt in under four hours. Volts can also be charged using a regular 120-volt wall socket; however, charging takes roughly double that time. While there is now a national standard for Electric Vehicle charge plugs, the actual size of the battery, the time to recharge and the cost to recharge will vary by model.  Electricity needed to fully recharge a Chevy Volt battery costs about $1.60 at Connecticut rates, while a pure EV, like the Nissan Leaf, will cost closer to $3.00 per charge.  

One common mis-conception about EV’s is that they are expensive to recharge.  The truth is, most EV’s will not always require a full charge.  Many drivers will plug-in needing only a partial charge, and the electricity costs can be as little as ten or twenty cents if just a top-off is needed.

The Westport charging station equipment is manufactured by Clipper Creek, Inc. and outfitted with a Liberty PlugIns keypad for authorized use. Parking pass-holders at this commuter lot may currently charge their EVs for free. The pay-by-cell feature, Park NOW! from Mobile Now LLC, is in place and will be activated by town officials at a future date.   The charging station was installed by Bartoli Electric of Norwalk.  Steven Epstien, owner of Bartoli, has been an active proponent of EV’s in the area and has installed many of the area’s EV charging equipment, including the stations at KARL Chevrolet in New Canaan.

The CL&P EV Research project is part of a larger EV effort by parent company Northeast Utilities.  By year-end, a network of more than 30 charging stations is expected to generate detailed meter data in Connecticut, western Massachusetts and New Hampshire for CL&P’s parent company, Northeast Utilities (NU). NU has installed charging stations at company offices in Berlin and Hartford, Connecticut; Springfield, Massachusetts; and Manchester, New Hampshire. Additionally, NU’s Western Massachusetts Electric Company has one customer site installed and another planned.

Northeast Utility's Chevy Volt

Amoung the seven Electric Vehicles present at Monday’s ceremony in Westport was Northeast Utilities’ Chevy Volt.  Besides the 2 Chevy Volts, there were also 2 Tesla Roadsters and this Electric SmartCar: