National Grid has a plan to meet the need for EV chargers for people who can’t connect an electric vehicle at home. In Melrose, Massachusetts, a suburban community 10 miles north of Boston, the company is installing 16 electric vehicle chargers mounted on lampposts. “We know how important the transition to a clean energy future is,” Tara Capella, National Grid vice president of growth and marketing, says in a blog post. “By deploying these electric vehicle chargers on our power poles, we are doing our part to provide equal access to this growing technology.”
Installing chargers on existing light poles saves a lot of money. Taking advantage of the energy already available to run street lights reduces installation costs by approximately 70% compared to trenching to run underground cables. While the installation of electric vehicle chargers on light poles is common in the United Kingdom and many parts of Europe, it has been slow to spread in the United States.
The chargers will be owned by the City of Melrose. When all chargers are installed later this year, Project Melrose will mark the first deployment of elevated, pole-mounted EV chargers by an investor-owned facility in the United States.
“This year Melrose is celebrating 10 years as a green community,” Melrose Mayor Paul Broder said. “This program is an important step in encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles in our community, offsetting emissions and bringing us closer to the NetZero 2050 goal. I am very grateful to collaborate with National Grid to bring this project to fruition.” (No pun intended, as we suppose.)
Melrose charging stations, which will include a mix of single and dual stations, will be deployed at 10 locations across the city. Customers will use an app to lower the charging cable so that it can be plugged into the electric vehicle’s charging port. The information gained from the project – how often, when and for how long to use chargers – will help the company form future electric vehicle partnerships with other cities and communities.
Pole-mounted electric vehicle chargers are just one of many National Grid efforts to accelerate electric transportation in Massachusetts. Transportation accounts for 43% of the Bay State’s carbon emissions, which makes a strong case for moving to electric vehicles as quickly as possible.
In 2018, the National Network received approval to invest $20 million to add 680 charging stations in workplaces, public spaces, multi-family homes, and commercial and public fleets in Massachusetts. Of the 500 charging stations already installed, 70% are open to the public, and a third are located in disadvantaged communities. For people who need to park on the street, pole-mounted EV chargers are the best idea since bread slicing.
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