Grove City Council is considering legislation that would create an electric vehicle charging-station grant program in the city.
The ordinance, co-sponsored by Councilman Ted Berry and Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage, would appropriate $25,000 from the general fund to establish the program.
"My goal is to get a greater number of environmentally friendly cars on the road and provide an incentive for more people to consider whether buying an electric vehicle is something they want to do," Berry said.
"I haven't been able to find any other example," Berry said of such a program.
"This will put Grove City on the cutting edge of this issue. I'm really excited about it."
Council held a first reading of the ordinance Oct. 15 and scheduled a second reading and potential vote for Dec. 3, although the second reading and vote may be moved up to an earlier meeting, he said.
The initial intent was to offer grant opportunities to both residential and commercial applicants, at a rate of $500 for residential installation and $2,000 for commercial installation.
"We're revising that to focus primarily on residential applications because while AEP has a rebate program for commercial entities, it doesn't have a residential grant program," Berry said. "If this is enacted, we would be encouraging businesses in our community to go through the AEP program."
The commercial rebate program AEP offers provides 50 to 80 percent of the cost of buying and installing a charger for a business, he said.
Under the proposed grant-application process detailed in the legislation, residents would need to provide two cost estimates for the proposed work, proof of property ownership or a lease and affidavit from the property owner. The property would have to be brought into compliance with the city's zoning code to qualify for funding.
Berry said he owns an electric car and has a charging station at his residence.
"I would not be utilizing this grant program in any way," he said.
Many people don't know "how much fun" it is to own an electric vehicle and the potential cost savings it can bring, Berry said.
He said he is able to charge his car twice a week to meet his driving needs and completes the charging overnight.
"I'm probably spending $5 or $6 a month in electric charging for the driving I do, as compared to the cost of filling up at the gas station" (with an vehicle with an internal-combustion engine), Berry said.
"You're also saving on oil change, and you're not putting unhealthy emissions into the atmosphere."
One goal of the grant program would be to encourage people to consider buying an electric vehicle, he said.
"It's a daunting decision for a lot of people, especially the idea of having to install a charging station on top of buying the vehicle," Berry said.
Brad Chadwell, innovation and technology manager at AEP, spoke in support of the legislation at the Oct. 15 council meeting.
Along with the environmental and cost benefits of electric vehicles, they are also "both quiet and quick," Chadwell said.
"They're much quieter than internal-combustion engines and they are very responsive, so you get very good acceleration out of the electric motor," he said.
There are several types of chargers, starting with a level 1 device that is "a very slow charger that takes most of the night to fully recharge the vehicle," Chadwell said. A level 1 device typically comes with an electric vehicle.
A level 2 charger typically requires a separate purchase and offers a full charge within a couple of hours, he said.
It usually costs "in the neighborhood of $500, depending on what features you want to get," Chadwell said.
A level 3 charger offers quick charges, but is rarely used at residences, he said.