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Port OKs first public EV charging station

LISBON — Columbiana County will soon have its first public electric vehicle charging station following action taken at Monday’s county port authority board meeting.

The board approved entering into a contract with the California-based ChargePoint Inc. to install and operate an electric vehicle (EV) charging station capable of charging two EVs simultaneously. The dual-port station will be located in front of the port authority building for anyone to use and it is expected to be in place within a month.

Port authority director Penny Traina said it will come with a mobile app for EV owners to download “so they can locate the charging station” when driving through the county.

The port authority staff has been researching the idea and companies for the past seven months before choosing ChargePoint. Traina said they decided to undertake the project as a public service since the only other charging stations are located local automobile dealerships.

“This means anyone can use it,” she said.

The port authority also felt this puts the county in a better position to take advantage of the growing popularity of EVs and perhaps encourage local residents who have been considering purchasing an EV but were holding off because there were no public charging stations in the county.

“We’re definitely looking to the future, with the battery plant being built in Lordstown” and the electronic truck plant to open there as well, she said. “It also increases our sense of environmental stewardship by having the first one … and get ahead of what is coming.”

The contract is for five years, with ChargePoint to be paid $2,160 per year. This covers maintenance of the charging station, credit card billing and the cloud services.

The port authority will also receive a portion of the money charged by ChargePoint, depending on which of the four billing options it chooses. “I don’t know that it will be enough to pay for itself upfront,” she said of the fees. “It will depend on the usage and fees we get.”

The port authority intends to use social media and other marketing means to get the word out about the charging station.

Board chairman Charlie Presley liked the idea and that the port authority was taking the lead. “I think it is one of those things that is forward looking, and I’m glad we’re doing it for the county,” he said.

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