Burlington hopes city-owned fast charger will help get more EVs on the road

Published: Jul. 24, 2023 at 6:10 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - As Burlington works on its 2030 net-zero energy goals, the Burlington Electric Department is hoping to get more people into electric vehicles. One of the main concerns steering people away from EVs is the amount of time it takes the charge one up. Now, Burlington has its first city-owned fast charger.

Burlington Electric has debuted its first public fast charger which it hopes will be the first of many more to come, giving people an easier and quicker way to charge up their electric vehicles.

“The thing about having a vehicle is you gotta make sure you have it charged to get to where you’re going,” said Dennis Johnson of South Hero.

The number of electric vehicles in Vermont has grown steadily over the past decade, and significantly in the past several years. As of March, there were nearly 9,500 passenger EVs on the road; the number was half that just two years ago.

Many EV owners plan out their routes to make sure they are up on where charging stations are.

“The more fast chargers there are, the more people that will use them, then the quicker they can get in and get out. And the more that happens, the easier using an electric vehicle will be and the more conducive it will be for people to get them,” Johnson said.

To keep up with demand, Burlington Electric installed its first city-owned fast charger at the BED offices on Pine Street more than a week ago.

“The great thing is if you’re an electric vehicle driver and you stop at one of these, you need a lot less time needing to fill up,” said Darren Springer of BED.

Instead of waiting for hours like a regular charger can take, fast chargers take under an hour to get an EV to nearly full battery.

“It’s convenient to have in town. We don’t use it all the time but certainly on the road when I’m traveling for work. If I’m using this car, I’m like I know where the fast chargers are and I top off whenever I need them. So yeah, 20 minutes for a charge, 30 minutes per charge is super convenient,” said Ben Fowler, who owns an EV.

Right now, only one is available at Burlington Electric, but they are working on permitting another one in the city. Moving forward they hope to have more.

“So we anticipate having a really exponential growth over the next several years,” Springer said. “If the federal funds come through or additional state funds come through, that’ll be helpful as well. And it’s not all about fast charging. We need more level 2s, as well. We’re working on getting those around the community. We really want it to be ubiquitous.”

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