Provide Electric Charging Stations

Electric vehicles (EV) are good for everyone, not just those who drive them. Each mile driven in an EV rather than a gas-powered car reduces emissions of greenhouse gases and other harmful air pollutants, creating benefits for the climate and public health. Charging electric vehicles off peak—when the electric grid is under-utilized and there is spare capacity available—puts downward pressure on electric rates for all customers by increasing utility sales without the need for new capital investments. In Minnesota, off-peak EV charging also allows integration of more clean and low-cost wind generation, which tends to be the highest during overnight hours. EV drivers also benefit financially from reduced fuel and maintenance costs over the lifetime of their vehicles.

Despite the significant benefits associated with EVs, adoption rates remain low in Duluth and across Minnesota. According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, there are just 174 known EVs on the road in St. Louis County. One major strategy to spur EV adoption is addressing “range anxiety”—the fear of being stranded on a car trip with an empty battery—by building out public charging infrastructure. The International Council for Clean Transportation found that infrastructure deployment must increase by about 20% per year to meet the expected need for charging by the year 2025.

There is a need for more local businesses to install public charging stations. And in addition to benefiting the climate and public health, these businesses stand to benefit from installing these chargers. Employers that offer workplace charging as a benefit gain an advantage over other employers in terms of attracting and retaining talent. Destinations like retail stores, supermarkets, and restaurants that install charging stations attract EV drivers as customers, and increase the amount of time those customers spend in their stores as they wait for their vehicles to charge. Offering EV charging can also serve as an additional source of direct revenue for these businesses. Businesses that offer EV charging may even earn a federal tax credit.



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