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Posted: December 17, 2013 10:00 p.m.

Covington turns down free electric car charger

Covington will wait a little longer to invest in electric vehicles, as the Covington City Council voted Monday not to participate in a program from car manufacturer Nissan that would have given the city a free electric car charger.

Although the charger would have been free, city grant writer Randy Conner said installation costs would have been around $10,000, and the city would have had to buy or lease a Nissan Leaf vehicle.

The council voted unanimously Monday to decline the offer.

Conner said Nissan is trying to establish charging ports every 35-45 miles along major interstates, such as Interstate 20. Most electric vehicles have a range of 75-100 miles before they need a charge, Conner said, though the Leaf has a range of 100 miles. While Nissan would have provided the charger (which would have been a fast charge port capable of fully charging a battery in under an hour), Conner said Covington would be responsible for installing the station and maintaining the charger. The cost for charging a car would have been $3 to $5 an hour, Conner said, a rate at which the city would only recover its electricity costs.

Councilman Chris Smith said he thought the council should pass on the opportunity, saying it would be premature by a couple of years to install an electric car charger, especially in light of the city’s compressed natural gas fueling facility coming online in the next month. The city was previously set to receive two to three electric car chargers through the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s $114.8 million EV Project; however, Covington pulled out of the project earlier this year when the private company handling implementation of the program, ECOtality, went bankrupt and lost the remainder of its federal funding.

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