NH Electric Co-op Working to Expand State's Network of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

PLYMOUTH — New Hampshire Electric Co-op (NHEC) is partnering with a group of its commercial members in a pilot program that is adding up to seven publicly available Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations to the state's network.

The pilot program will help NHEC to better understand the use of and need for EV charging stations in its service territory. The number of EVs registered in New Hampshire is expected to double in 2013 and hundreds more visit from out of state, creating opportunities for the expanded development of a network of charging stations that can benefit EV drivers as well as the regional power grid.

NHEC has worked with some of its larger commercial members in the hospitality industry to install EV charging stations this year in North Conway (Red Jacket Mountain View Resort), Woodstock (Woodstock Inn Station), Plymouth (Common Man Inn) and Lincoln (Indian Head Resort). Additional charging stations are planned in Meredith (Church Landing at Mill Falls), and Jackson (Bernerhof Inn). When fully installed, they will complete a ring of stations that are all within the range limits of most EV and Plug-in Hybrid vehicles.

Gary Lemay, NHEC Renewable Energy Engineer and manager of pilot program, notes that "range anxiety" caused by a lack of available charging stations is one of the barriers to the rapid adoption of EV or Plug-in Hybrid technology.

"People with electric vehicles charge first at home, second at work and third at a destination type of location where they will be staying for one to three hours or longer," he said. "That makes these hotels and resorts ideal locations for EV charging stations."

Lemay estimates there are currently 13 Type II EV charging stations that are available for use by the general public in New Hampshire, but less than a handful located north of Concord. The charging stations installed as part of the NHEC pilot will put some of New Hampshire's most scenic terrain, including the White Mountains and Mount Washington Valley, within range for most EV motorists.

By monitoring the use of the charging stations in the NHEC pilot program (both in total kilowatt-hours and actual number of vehicles), NHEC will explore the possibility of a special EV charging rate or further incentives for commercial members to install the chargers.

NHEC is a non-profit electric distribution cooperative serving 83,000 homes and businesses in 115 New Hampshire communities.