Meeker always has been one of Colorado’s less accessible towns. It never had a railroad. When Teddy Roosevelt, then the vice president, arrived to shoot mountain lions in 1901, he did so by horse. And the town of 2,300 in northwest Colorado is still not on a major highway.
It does have two electric charging stations, though. One is a level 2 charger, the other an expensive fast charger.
Now all it needs are customers.
“To be honest, when we put them in, we weren’t sure we would have more than one or two (users) a year,” says Trina Zagar-Brown, the general counsel for White River Electric, which installed the charging stations.
In fact, she says, the stations got an average one user per week in the first several months after their installation in July last year. Since December, the low season for tourism in Meeker, use has dropped off to about once a month.
That’s OK, says Zagar-Brown. EVs are an emerging sector, and as an electrical cooperative, White River wants to be of service to local residents as well as tourists passing through.
“I am sure there are some people scratching their heads, but I did not have any negative response,” she says.
The irony is that there probably aren’t any EVs in conservative, staunchly Republican Meeker and surrounding areas. That, however, will likely change, especially when auto manufacturers start selling pickup trucks.
White River installed the charging stations with the aid of grants from two state agencies but also its wholesale provider, Tri-State Generation and Transmission.
The local chamber of commerce also chipped in some money. Merchants hope that travelers will decide to pause in Meeker and grab a bite to eat while getting recharged. For locals who do get EVs, the library is just across the street, a bank next door.
Charge Point estimates that it takes 30 to 45 minutes to recharge a completely dead battery with a high-speed charger.
This story was published in the March 18, 2020, issue of Big Energy Pivots. Want to see the full issue? Send your e-mail to [email protected].
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