Our opinion: Chargers need to be piece of plan

County Planner Dan Glotz isn’t wrong to ask Council of Governments’ members to consider strategically placed electric vehicle charging stations as part of the county’s comprehensive plan implementation.

More people are driving electric vehicles, and the county would be wise to have infrastructure for them. However, county decision makers should also make sure to consider the long-term costs associated with EV charging stations if they decide to make that an early priority of the comprehensive plan.

A recent J.D. Power survey found 13% of more than 6,800 respondents checked in to charge their vehicles but ultimately did not charge.

The majority of those EV drivers (58%) said they were unable to charge their vehicle because the charging station was out of service. A 2021 academic study of San Francisco-area fast charging stations found only 72.5% percent of them in working order. There are many reasons why the charging stations break, including required software updates that often require a new unit because the older units are unable to run newer software.

The good news is Warren County likely wouldn’t be on the hook, at least not entirely, if it installs charging stations. The federal government is making $5 billion available to increase EV charging capabilities nationwide. As we said, Glotz isn’t off base thinking ahead to a day when there are increasing numbers of electric vehicles on Warren County’s roads.

But Council of Governments members should keep in mind that putting in charging stations is only the first step. Maintenance agreements must be iron-clad so the charging infrastructure is available when visitors need it — or else Warren County could have a different black eye in the realm of EV drivers.


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