Bexley has applied for an American Electric Power grant to place electric-vehicle charging stations throughout the city, Mayor Ben Kessler said.
The city has applied for a grant program that AEP announced last August to encourage the installation of vehicle-charging stations at public sites, workplaces and apartment complexes throughout Ohio, Kessler said. If AEP awards the grant to Bexley, he said, four new stations would complement the two existing charging stations at Bexley City Hall, 2242 E. Main St.
"The difference in the locations we're looking at now would be street parking, and we would anticipate that it would be through a vendor that charges for the provision of the electricity," Kessler said Feb. 19 during Bexley City Council's meeting. "We can work with them to charge (motorists who use the stations), based upon cost."
Kessler said potential locations the city is considering for the new stations are near the Bexley Public Library, 2411 E. Main St.; Drexel Avenue just north of Graeter's Ice Cream, 2282 E. Main St.; Cassady Avenue just north of East Main Street; Cassady Avenue between Ruhl and Columbus avenues; the tennis court parking lot at Jeffrey Park, 165 N. Parkview Ave.; and at the city service garage on Delmar Drive.
"We're trying to prioritize where we're getting the most vehicular traffic, the most consistent parking," Kessler said, as the list would be whittled to four sites.
Bill Dorman, the city's service director, said the city took into account where residential areas would not be affected by the charging stations.
"Any above-ground structures, we're trying to be sensitive of residents' views," Dorman said.
The AEP grant would cover the cost of installing the stations, but the costs still are being determined, Kessler said.
"They vary in cost of installation," he said.
Responding to the idea of partnering with a vendor that would charge motorists to use the stations, Councilman Tim Madison said the city doesn't charge for the existing stations at city hall and asked why the new stations would cost motorists.
The city initially considered charging motorists to use the stations at city hall, but decided against it, Kessler said.
"We looked around at every other city, and we would be the only city charging for our onsite chargers," Kessler said, "so we maintained a parity with other city halls."
City Auditor Bill Harvey asked Kessler if businesses near the new charging stations would be affected.
"It limits anybody who doesn't have an electric car from parking there, which means a majority of their potential customers can't park there," Harvey said.
Kessler said he plans to discuss the charging stations with local businesses. He said most people who use the existing charging stations at city hall patronize nearby businesses.
"It's a marketing tool, and it's actually an amenity to businesses, as opposed to a detraction, in my opinion," Kessler said.
"Because what you're doing is positioning Bexley as yet more of a destination to where consumers coming throughout the region are finding a convenient place to charge while they're also shopping," he said.
Dorman cited the Easton Town Center as an example of retail centers in the region that have charging stations for electric vehicles.
"If anyone goes to Easton, the best parking spaces in their garage are by the door," Dorman said, "and they're all mostly dedicated for EV."