HOLLAND, MI – Two plants that will produce lithium-ion batteries for electric-powered cars are under construction in Holland, but the city could have as many as 17 charging stations available for such cars to plug into by the end of the summer.
The Board of Public Works approved a contract with ChargePoint America to supply the charging stations, which would be located throughout the city. While the stations won’t cost the utility anything — the cost is covered as part of a $15 million U.S. Department of Energy grant, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — it will have to cover the $5,000-per-station installation cost.
The City Council is expected to consider the contract Wednesday.
Under the grant’s terms, the stations would have to be installed by the end of September, said Dan Nally, business services manager for the BPW.
“We’re definitely in the top tier of early movers (in getting these stations installed),” Nally said.
The proposed locations include downtown Eighth Street, the Seventh Street parking ramp, City Hall, Hope College, the Padnos Transportation Center and Doubletree Hotel. In addition to the 17 stations planned for Holland, three are planned in Zeeland.
“The Holland BPW and the city of Holland are committed to making this part of their infrastructure,” said Greg Northrup, president of the West Michigan Strategic Alliance, which was among those supporting the grant effort.
Overall, about 50 charging stations will be established in the region under the grant, including as many as eight in Grand Rapids, 10 in Grand Haven and eight in Muskegon. One charging station, installed by Consumers Energy, is located in the East Hills neighborhood, at the corner of Lake Drive SE and Diamond.
Meijer installed two electric charging stations at its 16th Street store, as part of the Grand Rapids-based retailer’s plans to locate them at its supercenters.
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The Energy Department grant was divided among nine regions of the country, including the southern portion of Michigan, with a total of 4,600 charging stations to be installed.
The charging stations would be able to accept electronic payments through an Internet-based system, Nally said. No details have been worked out yet as far as whether the Holland stations would charge for their use.
Northrup said Holland is a perfect location for the charging stations because of the development of the LG Chem and Johnson Controls Saft lithium-ion plants.
“Since we’ve got this great investment in battery plants in West Michigan, we need to make sure we leverage that investment,” he said.
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