Ashland seeks charging stations, hybrids

Ashland seeks charging stations, hybrids

The city of Ashland could get new hybrid vehicles and four electric vehicle recharging stations if the state is successful in winning federal stimulus money.

The state government has applied for $15 million to help pay for vehicles that use electricity for some or all of their propulsion, and to build a network of recharging stations along Interstate 5 and Interstate 84.

The federal American Renewal and Reinvestment Act includes $300 million for alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicle projects, according to information from the state about its application for funding.

If the state wins funding, it will distribute money to almost 80 partners, including cities like Ashland, counties, universities and community colleges, transit agencies, electric utilities and businesses that range from car dealers to grocery stores.

Some of the partners want vehicles, some have committed to building recharging stations and others hope for both, said Oregon Business Development Department Clean Tech Industry Strategist Mark Brady.

The state could help fund 1,250 recharging stations and about 800 vehicles with $15 million, he said.

Each of the four recharging stations Ashland wants would cost about $16,000. The city would be responsible for paying half of the costs, for a total of about $32,000, city of Ashland Electric Department Director Dick Wanderscheid said.

Two would be built in the next fiscal year, with two more the following year. City officials haven't determined where they would go, he said.

Wanderscheid said purely electric vehicles are still rare, so in the beginning he suspects the recharging stations would be used mainly by owners of plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The city of Ashland is also hoping to win money for a few hybrid vehicles for the city government fleet, along with a hybrid bucket truck that electric department workers would use to reach power lines.

— Ashland Daily Tidings

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