The City of Stillwater is getting ready for the day more of its residents embrace electric vehicles. On Monday, the City Council approved a lease agreement with Francis Solar that will allow the company to install charging stations near select parking spots in five locations around town.
Francis Solar will pay the City of Stillwater $1 per month per parking spot for a 15-year lease period. The agreement can be renewed for one 10-year period. It will buy electricity from Stillwater Electric and then mark it up for sale to people who use it to charge their vehicles.
The company will install, service and maintain the charging stations.
Explanations for why people haven’t adopted electric vehicles have generally followed the circular, chicken-and-egg logic that dogged compressed natural gas vehicles; People don’t drive them because they don’t have enough places to fuel up and there aren’t very many fueling stops because not enough people drive them to make installing the fueling stations a profitable venture.
Electric Utility Director Loren Smith presented a report that said all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are expected to become an important part of the transportation landscape.
Efforts like this one are part of developing a network of consistent, accessible charging stations in homes, public streets and commercial settings, he wrote. The American Public Power Association projects that the market for plug-in electric vehicles in the U.S. will grow to more than 700,000 units by 2021.
The tracking website “Inside EVs” reported that 361,307 electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. in 2018, an 81% increase from 2017 sales.
It’s still a small portion of the auto market, but demand has grown fairly steadily since 2011, when 17,425 units were sold in the U.S., according to “Inside Evs”. By 2017, 199,826 units would be sold.
More than 50% of the units sold were Teslas, followed distantly by Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet, Nissan, BMW and Ford, according to Green Tech Media. Several manufacturers are making Evs that have ranges over 200 miles while others are developing high-performance electric cars, GTM reported.
Smith told the City Council that charging stations will be installed at the Stillwater Public Library, Strickland Park, the easet and west sides of Boomer Lake and at Block 34 in downtown.
Some of the chargers will have the ability to fully charge a vehicle in as little as 30 minutes.
The parking spaces are not being taken out of use so the general public will still be able to park in them without charging a vehicle. But they will have an additional amenity, he said.
In other business the City Council:
Approved a staff recommendation to accept bids from three companies for for city workers who are not part of the police and fire departments.
Accepted an Oklahoma Emergeny Management grant to buy a mobile generator on a trailer for the Water Utilities Department. The grant will cover $157,000 of the $300,000 purchase price. The City of Stillwater will pay the remainder.
Approved agreements for inspection and testing with EST and for project management with OSU Long-range Facilities Planning Group for a runway rehabilitation project at Stillwater Regional Airport. The total for both services will cost the city $155,000, which keeps the project total within the amount already approved by the City Council.
The council also approved two ordinances on second reading. Ordinance 3436 closes five feet of a utility easement at 423 S. Gray Street. Ordinance 3437 allows the city to tax short-term rental of rooms in private homes. An emergency clause was added, which means the ordinance takes effect immediatley.
Marijuana Dispensary Specific Use Permits
2404 N. Perkins Road, the former Git N Gallup convenience store, for Z.K. Enterprises a.k.a. Ponca City Dispensary
127 and 135 S. Main Street, the former Holy Cow Couture, for Main 135 LLC
111 W. Elm Street, the former Cake Crazy, for Sugar Leaf
807 N. Main Street, for Main Street Dispensary LLC.