Wichita will see its first downtown public electric vehicle (EV) charging station open Thursday at 100 N. Broadway. This Westar energy station powers electric vehicles like the Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt, and Ford Transit.“This is an exciting time for consumers. EV’s have the ability to help reduce our dependency on foreign oil by using a fuel we generate right here in Kansas – electricity,” said Jim Ludwig, executive vice president, consumer services and public affairs. “Electric vehicle customers can also achieve 75 percent or greater savings on fuel expenses and reduced greenhouse-gas emissions versus gas-powered vehicles.”
The charging station will allow electric vehicle drivers to top off their charge while downtown. The station will be a level 2, providing 240-volt charging, that Westar will offer as a courtesy to electric vehicle drivers. The Level 2 charger provides a faster charge than a standard household 120-volt outlet. The plug on the charging station is standard for all commercially available EV’s.
Westar’s first public EV charging station was installed in Topeka in October. Westar also plans to install a public charging station in Emporia and Lawrence. ElectroGo’s website, Westarelectrogo.com, provides customers general information about electric vehicles.
Westar currently has eight EV’s in its fleet, including two Chevy Volts, four Ford Transit Connect vans, two Nissan LEAFs and two Smith Electric Vehicles. Depending on make and model, EV’s are expected to be available in Kansas late this year and early next year.
In 2009, Westar Energy was among utilities nationwide that pledged support for plug-in electric vehicles. As high gasoline prices continue across the nation, manufacturers and consumers are looking for more affordable options.
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