As electric cars become more popular, Massachusetts towns, including Longmeadow, are beginning to consider installing electric car chargers in their parking lot. In the future, parking at an electric charger, plugging in your car, swiping your card, and then going about your school day could soon become a reality for LHS students and faculty. This Tuesday, January 26th, The School Committee voted unanimously to support a town application for two electric vehicle (EV) chargers, at the high school.
“This started as a conversation with the Energy & Sustainability Committee,” says Town Manager Lyn Simmons, “A School Committee member is on that committee and expressed an interest in EV chargers at the high school.” These chargers would be financed through the next state Green Community grant round, which is expected to open at the end of the month. The infrastructure work is being covered by Eversource.
“I argued for the high school because there’s the most cars at the high school,” says School Committee Member Kevin Shea. When asked if the matter were up to him, he said, “I’d put these all over town.”
Mr. Shea argues the incentives for the charging stations are simple. It would function as a helpful and convenient place to charge your car, it would encourage greener solutions for private transportation, and it would bring more money into Longmeadow. So far the plan calls for two charging stations to be installed at the high school.
However, even with such accessibility there are still some complications.
When asked if he’d use pay-to-charge stations, LHS Senior Wesley Breed says, “It depends on how expensive it is to use [them].” A problem arises when the electricity is cheaper at home than it is at school. Perhaps with faculty and staff driving an hour to school the desire to use these stations would be higher for them, but for students like Wesley there are a couple things to take into consideration.
“It’ll definitely be a tough sell, because many parking garages or public parking areas offer complimentary electric charging,” Wesley says, “With brands like Tesla, complimentary stations have been erected across the country in case you need to charge your Tesla in a pinch. If I was a Tesla owner and it cost money to charge my car at school, I most definitely would not. However, if the stations at the school were open 24/7, I think they would be an excellent option for people to charge their electric vehicles close to home in the event of a power outage or something similar.”
There are also plans to install charging stations at Storrs Library, Wolf Swamp Fields, the new DPW and the new Adult Center, but the funding sources for those is yet to be identified.