Rehoboth Beach Considers Charging Stations for Electric Cars - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Rehoboth Beach Considers Charging Stations for Electric Cars

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REHOBOTH BEACH, De. - Rehoboth Beach commissioners are considering the installation of a pair of charging stations for electric cars in the downtown area. This is part of a state-wide plan, initiated by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the University of Delaware.

Researchers at the university have proposed the installation of the devices, which are capable of charging electric cars in less than two hours. 
The state provided $80,000 to the program, which is tasked with spreading these sustainable energy sources to more cities across the state.

On Monday, the Rehoboth Beach commissioners heard a presentation from Dr. Willet Kempton from the University of Delaware. The commission seemed split in the idea, as some said they had concerns with cost and the timing. Commissioner Mark Hunker said the commission 
tasked the city manager with investigating potential locations, as well as estimating the cost for the city. 

"This would just be ahead of the curve," Hunker said. "As the electric vehicles and the hybrid vehicles become more popular."

The average electric vehicle can travel 80 to 100 miles before needing a recharge, Hunker said. However, Kempton told the commissioners that on especially cold days, that distance could drop as low as 50 miles. With that worst case scenario in mind, the researchers said Rehoboth Beach would be the perfect location for a charging station, to connect northern Delaware to the Salisbury area. 

Other than helping the environment, Hunker said the stations would likely help local business as well. He said the charging process takes up to two hours, and so he said the drivers would have to spend that time in Rehoboth Beach. 

"This is what makes Rehoboth Beach or something like Rehoboth Beach a good destination for this," he said. "That it allows the energy for your car while refueling the people in the car." 

The state would finance the installation of the stations, and would also provide a stipend that would likely cover one year. After that though, Hunker said the cost would fall on the city.

Comm. Stan Mills said some of the commissioners were concerned about the cost of maintaining the stations. He said those commissioners wanted private industry to take the lead.

"The jury's out on this," he said. "But some of us think that we'd like to get on the leading edge of this and attract clean, carbon free cars into the town." 

Ed Mcgehrin of Rehoboth Beach said private industry would come when the consumer demand was there. 

"I think we need them," he said. "But the matter of financing right now seems to be a little easier on private industry." 

But others like Scott Gee from the Wilmington area said that the public push is needed to get private industry rolling. Like a true chicken or the egg situation, he said the electric cars wouldn't come until the charging station infrastructure was there. 

"I think it's good," he said. "I think it's a good thing to pave away. And anything we're doing anything to benefit the environment, I think that's a good thing." 

Others like Robert Badger of Rehoboth Beach though said that it just wasn't the right time to set up the stations, because there aren't enough drivers on the roads.  

"It's a little early," he said. "I think in the future, five years or more, when there are more electric cars on the roads, it'll be beneficial. I don't think it'll be used to often right now."
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