Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sierra Club Installs First Downtown Boise Electric Car Charging Station

Posted By on Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 1:13 PM

click to enlarge Reed Burkholder showed Boise Weekly how to charge his Nissan Leaf at the Sierra Club back in October. - JESSICA MURRI
  • Jessica Murri
  • Reed Burkholder showed Boise Weekly how to charge his Nissan Leaf at the Sierra Club back in October.

The Clipper Creek 240V EV Charging Station charges an electric vehicle from empty to full in three and a half hours. Now, an old little home on the corner of Fifth Street and Franklin that houses the Sierra Club’s Idaho office has one of the only car chargers like it in the state.

"If you didn't know what it was, you'd think it was a holder for a garden hose," said Harold Orien, chairman of the Sierra Club's Idaho chapter, during a press conference this morning to announce the charger's presence in the valley.  

The conservation organization installed the car charger on Sept. 19 through donations from its 2,300 members statewide, costing less than $1,300—inexpensive enough that Zack Waterman, the executive director of Idaho's Sierra Club, said no extra fundraising needed to be done.

click to enlarge The charging station cost less than $1,300 and took one week from the time it was ordered to the time it was installed and running on Sept. 19. - JESSICA MURRI
  • Jessica Murri
  • The charging station cost less than $1,300 and took one week from the time it was ordered to the time it was installed and running on Sept. 19.
The charger works with any electric vehicle and fully charges a battery in two to four hours. Waterman told BW that having a charging station downtown helps drivers of electric vehicles feel less "range anxiety." The typical electric car, like the Nissan Leaf, gets about 100 miles per charge. 

Reed Burkholder drives one of those. His license plate reads "KICKGAS," and he's a self-proclaimed "electric evangelist."

“As a town car, you can’t beat these,” Burkholder said. “In this car, I am getting 200 miles for the electricity cost of $3.70, the same price as one gallon of gasoline. which I think is freaking off the scale. This is a superior technology.”

This charger joins a handful of others around the city; there's two in the Lincoln Parking Garage at Boise State University, two at Hewlett-Packard, two in the parking garage at the airport, and one at an electricians' school in Garden City. The power streaming through the Sierra Club's charger costs the drivers nothing, and only 50 cents per hour of use for the Sierra Club.

Beth Baird, the city of Boise's air quality program coordinator, came to the press conference to show her excitement and support for the charger. She's also part of the Treasure Valley Clean Cities Coalition—a U.S. Department of Energy program that encourages the reduction of petroleum consumption.

She came to the Sierra Club to get all the information on the charger, which she'll then share with the Department of Energy so the agency can add the location to their alternative fuel station locator, used by people across the country.

The city is in full support of the Sierra Club's recent addition, with a statement from Mayor Dave Bieter praising the charging station.

"Every opportunity we give the residents of Boise to choose electric vehicles is a chance to make lasting change for our city's future," the mayor's statement said. "By joining the City of Boise in providing electric car charging stations, the Sierra Club makes it easier for organizations and individuals across the city to reduce our carbon footprint. Through commitments like this, we can all do our part to make Boise the most livable city in the country."

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