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New Glasgow installs electric vehicle charging station
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Town engineer Earl MacKenzie shows off New Glasgow’s public electric vehicle charging station at the Glasgow Square parking lot Tuesday.

Francis Campbell, May 20, 2015 - Truro Bureau

The Town of New Glasgow is quietly making its foray into the battle to conserve energy.

“It shows the commitment of the town of New Glasgow to energy conservation and energy sustainability," town engineer Earl MacKenzie said as he stood by the town’s new public charging station for electric vehicles.

“There is no cost to use it. The town is providing it as a service to those who take energy conservation seriously."

Located in the downtown Glasgow Square parking lot, the station has been up and running for the past two weeks.

“It’s hard to say," MacKenzie said of the number of users thus far. “I don’t know when they are here. Hopefully it will gain interest as people become aware of it and as the usage of electric vehicles and hybrids becomes more popular."

David Stevenson of Tatamagouche was instrumental in bringing the station to New Glasgow.

Working as a liaison between Sun Country Highway, a company that supplies charging stations, and municipalities in Nova Scotia that might be interested in one, Stevenson said a stand-alone charge station like the one in Glasgow Square may cost about $2,000, along with an installation cost of close to $1,200. He said a grant from the provincial Energy Department’s Nova Scotia Moves program helped defray the cost.

“It’s a convenience for people who may need to charge for a short time," said Stevenson, who drives an electric Tesla manufactured in California. “These are not meant to be long-distance charging stations. It’s more meant to be for people who are heading back home again."

Like most electric car owners, he charges his vehicle at home, mostly overnight for a few hours, to avoid inconvenience.

“If I were driving from Tatamagouche to New Glasgow, I’d be plugging in for just enough time to get the distance to take me back home again," Stevenson said of the Glasgow Square charging station. “It may be for half an hour, maybe an hour at the most." MacKenzie said the station is part of the town’s continual pursuit of alternative energy sources.

“A few years ago, we converted all our traffic signals to LED. We converted, three years ago, all our street lighting to LED," MacKenzie said. “

“We installed a wind turbine at our water treatment plant. We’ve replaced some of our heating and ventilation systems in our buildings to be more efficient. We have a commitment to looking at our greenhouse gas emissions and trying to reduce them."

Part of that commitment is taking part in a provincial pilot project through Clean Foundation to study the use of electric vehicles or alternative fuels.

The pilot project put computers in 20 of the town’s fleet vehicles over a three-week period to study things such as emissions, idling and starts and stops. Clean Foundation has completed a report, but it has not yet been presented to council.

The town owns vehicles used by the police, fire, public works, recreation, snow removal and Internet technology departments. MacKenzie said it may make sense and cents to go with electric vehicles when it comes time to replace smaller vehicles in the town fleet.

For Stevenson, who drove his Tesla to Vancouver last fall for an electric vehicle conference for $130 one-way in electricity costs, thinks it always makes sense to go electric.

A website called www.plugshare. com shows drivers where they can access a charging station in Nova Scotia and across the continent.

“Our greatest hope is that there will be people lining up for this one station," Stevenson said. “That implies success."

And he argues that the initial sticker shock when buying an electric vehicle will be more than offset by the money saved in electricity versus gasoline or diesel.

“It turns out, in many cases, the electric vehicle is cheaper."

Read the article at the Chronicle Herald