A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Albany eyes grant to add EV chargers

Written May 23rd, 2023 by Hasso Hering

One of the two plugs at the city’s inactive EV charger off Water Avenue and Broadway Street downtown on Tuesday.

Evidently undeterred by their experience with the lone city-sponsored electric-vehicle charger downtown, Albany officials hope to get federal money to pay for installing four more.

On Wednesday night (May 24), the city council will be asked to have Albany apply for a federal grant to pay 80 percent of the cost of installing four public vehicle charging stations.

The cost is estimated at $2.2 million, and if the grant is approved, the city street fund would have to cover the required local contribution of 20 percent, $440,000.

Two potential locations for the EV chargers have been tentatively identified: the park-and-ride lot off North Albany Road, and Albany Station, the train and bus depot.

The other two might be placed near shopping centers or the intersections of busy roads.

The memo describing all this to the council does not mention the charging station that the downtown urban renewal program, CARA, got Pacific Power to pay for in the parking lot off Water Avenue, behind the former J.C. Penney building.

That charging station was dedicated on Sept. 29, 2021. I’ve looked at it every few months since then and usually found that it wasn’t working. A representative of the travel section of the German auto club came through Oregon this past February and found it on the fritz as well.

On Tuesday, after I read about the request to apply for grant funding in a supplemental council agenda, I checked the downtown charger again. And again it displayed the word “alarm” along with an error code.

I looked up the code. It means: “Communication with auxiliary power module is broken.”

That’s not a typical situation, right? If it were, the country’s supposed wholesale transition to electric vehicles might hit a wall before it gets going in a big way.  (hh)

12 responses to “Albany eyes grant to add EV chargers”

  1. Jill says:

    These federal dollars are still *our* tax dollars and it seems we have a responsibility to only put our hand out when it’s really needed, beneficial and cost-effective.
    I cannot fathom how a charging station reaches to $550,000 unless it’s a huge station with the ability to charge hundreds of cars at once.
    My station cost ~2,500, installed.
    Of course, i also pay my own power bill and do not expect taxpayers to cover the cost of electricity to charge my car.

    • Bob Woods says:

      An 800 volt high power quick chargers require additional transformers. A 240 volt home charger is far less costly.

  2. Hartman says:

    It’s a good thing that we didn’t have the Hering Critique going back to the days when NASA was trying and failing to launch rockets on a regular basis. The litany of exploding missiles, blowing up on the launch pad almost weekly would certainly have caught the Hering eye. Had he been criticizing the long list of failures as NASA was learning…well, we might never have gone to the moon. Fortunately, NASA did not consider snide remarks from the cheap seats and today, the good old USA is still the only rocket launching nation to put humans on the moon. Naysayers are just that … a drag on progress.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Either that or a brake on decline.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      Money would be far better spent on researching the oceans for potential food, mineral & other resources .than the moon. The commute is much easier.

      We did learn how to better deliver nuclear warheads and bankrupt the Ruskies though.

      • Bob Woods says:

        Bill, you are out of touch with reality.

        Drink a cup of coffee and act like an adult.

  3. Richard Vannice says:

    Hey it’s free money!! Who is going to be responsible and paying for maintaining the charging stations? Couldn’t that money the city would be paying used to do some street repair?
    The attitude of city officials seems to be, it’s free, get it, and to hell with it.
    The present charging station downtown seems to be exactly the result of that attitude.

  4. Anony Mouse says:

    Hey, this is government, so inquiring minds want to know more:

    Is this grant part of FHWA’s NEVI program?
    Is this grant part of DOT’s CFI program? If CFI, which part? Community or corridor?
    Maybe the grant will come from the new JOET.
    Is FHWA part of DOT? Is JOET part of FHWA, or maybe DOT, or maybe DOE?
    I can’t keep the acronym salad straight and I get cross-eyed looking at a government org chart.

    I suppose it doesn’t matter where the cash comes from, as long as it doesn’t get cut as a result of the debt ceiling fight.

  5. Anony Mouse says:

    So the city “street fund” will fork over $440,000.

    Is that money better spent on charging stations, or pothole filling?

    You be the judge….

  6. Al Nyman says:

    A 220 plug in my garage with charger was less than $2500 as I already had 220 available. To say it costs $550,000 to have a 480 3-phase plug is ludicrous! I think I will call my electric contractor and ask him how much to put a 480 3-phase plug in my garage.


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