Directors informally gave City Administrator Phillip Patterson the go ahead during their meeting on Feb. 2 to pursue installing an electric vehicle charging station near the library.
Patterson told directors about a rebate program that could cover 90 percent of the cost of a charging station and asked directors for input on how he should proceed.
Arkansas has received or will receive $14.6 million from the Volkswagen Trust Settlement Fund, Patterson said. The fund came about because Volkswagen wasn’t honest about some of their diesel cars and the fumes they produced, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The company paid $2.7 billion for the 2.0 liter violating vehicles and $225 million for the 3.0 liter violating vehicles to an environmental mitigation trust, according to epa.gov.
“I’ve been watching this at the state (level) for the last couple of years,” Patterson said. “They’re going to use that money in ways to reduce fuel emissions from vehicles and just recently they published a rebate program for electric vehicle charging stations.”
Patterson said there is another program for a fast charging station in the form of a grant, but it has not come out yet. Electric vehicle charging stations could cost anywhere from $6,000 to $12,000 depending on whether they are single or dual part chargers, Patterson said.
Fast charging stations could cost between $25,000 and $40,000, Patterson said. Slow charging station take two hours to charge a vehicle while a fast charging station only takes 30 minutes, he said.
The city has the opportunity to put a charging station in the parking lot across from the library and receive up to 90 percent of the cost, assuming the rebate would also cover the cost of the warranty, Patterson said.
Patterson said he would like to get a dual charger for the station at the library and has several quotes for both single and dual chargers. For a single charger, it would cost $6,700 with a three year warranty, Patterson said. If the rebate covers the warranty, the city would be out $675. If it does not cover the warranty, the city would be out $2,500, Patterson said.
A dual charger including the warranty would cost $9,400, Patterson said. If the rebate pays for the warranty, the city’s cost would be $1,000 and if it doesn’t cover the warranty, the cost would be $2,800, Patterson said.
The city would have to pay for the installation first before receiving the rebate, Patterson said. The program is first come first serve so if the city is not quick enough, it will not get the rebate, he said.
If the board advised Patterson to proceed, he said he would bring back a budget amendment to move money from the operations fund to a capital budget item. He also ask the board to approve the measure if the city did not receive the rebate.
Patterson said if the city got the rebate he would put the money back in the administration’s operating budget.
The directors were positive about the idea of an electric car charging station. Director Brad Burns said he is looking at the city post-coronavirus and the city’s connectivity and walk-ability and is behind the idea of an electric car charging station.
Director Carol Smiley agreed with Burns. She said she knew of other cities who had some charging stations and she would like to see Siloam Springs always be on the forefront of what’s coming in the future.
While Director David Allen said he liked the idea, he wanted to see it on U.S. Highway 412 for tourists who are traveling cross country.
Patterson said for the city to qualify for the rebate the charging station needed to be on public property. Patterson had also considered putting a fast charging station at the visitor’s center at the Arkansas/Oklahoma border.
“Last I heard from them they said they have a lot of concerns and issues so I don’t think that’s going to work out,” Patterson said. “So I think the opportunity for us is to do a charging station at the library if the board is interested in doing that.”
Allen told Patterson to continue looking for public property on Highway 412, even if it’s just a small portion the city does not use.