For those not already aware, the Chambers Street Garage has hosted a battery-charging station for electric cars, or EVs, since fall 2012. Developed by the Melville, NY–based company Leviton and sold at its website (www.leviton.com), the Fleet 2 unit charger delivers 240 volts at 30Amps (ranging approximately from 38-90 miles to the gallon, depending on the vehicle). Conveniently, the charging station is compatible with all leading EVs—thanks in part to the standard “handle,” or charging nozzle, which fits all EV ports, and is approved by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE J1772).
So how long does a full charge take? While the time differs for each EV, the overall range is convenient and manageable. Here is a timetable for charging most leading vehicles: Nissan Leaf (7.2 hrs); Chevy Volt (3.15 hours); Ford Focus (3.48 hrs); Toyota Prius Hybrid Plug-in (1.5 hrs); Honda Fit (3 hrs); Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid (less than one hour); Ford Fusion, Energi, and S-MAX Energi (2.5 hrs); and Toyota RAV 4, which takes a Tesla battery (7.3 hrs). As for the Tesla, the Leviton station charges the vehicle with the addition of a special adapter supplied by Tesla.
What does a charge cost? At Chambers Street, the Leviton charger offers $1.50 minimum/first hour and $12.00 maximum. To pay for a charge, you must purchase a ChargePoint card, available at www.chargepoint.com (the website also lists the locations of the over 18,000 charging spots across the country). Two cards, costing $4.95 are mailed to customers which are associated with the user’s credit card, and a $25 monthly deduction is drawn down for the first few months. Once the charging usage is gauged, the automatic withdrawal is increased or decreased accordingly.
According to the garage manager, the station is used 4-5 times a week, a definite increase since its installation two years ago. Park-In Garage Systems, the owner of the Chambers Street Garage, is considering the addition of a few more charging stations.
Contributed by Ned Higgins, local editor and writer.