Governor Lincoln D. Chafee today unveiled an electric vehicle charging station at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, the first in a network of up to 50 electric vehicle charging stations to be installed throughout the state over the next three months.
Governor Chafee also announced that the State of Rhode Island will lead by example by transitioning the state fleet to alternative fuel vehicles. Governor Chafee has directed his Director of Administration Richard Licht to implement a process through which State Agencies will use Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) dollars to pay for the differential cost between an alternative fuel vehicle and a comparably sized gas-powered car.
"Supporting electric vehicle transportation in Rhode Island will provide a boost to the state economy, saving money on gas and keeping dollars that would have been spent on imported oil here in Rhode Island," said Governor Chafee. "We are developing a clean and efficient transportation infrastructure for the future, saving taxpayer dollars and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants."
"Electric vehicles help improve air quality for all Rhode Islanders by reducing tailpipe emissions," said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. "I congratulate the State, ChargePoint, and National Grid on this important step, and for their efforts to position Rhode Island as a leader in the fast-growing clean energy industry."
"Rhode Island has long been at the forefront of expanding our renewable portfolio, both onshore and off," said U.S. Congressman James Langevin. "This partnership to develop electric vehicle infrastructure throughout our state is a perfect example of what can happen when state, federal, and local governments work together with private companies. I look forward to seeing the benefits this state-wide venture brings to our communities in the years to come."
"Under Governor Chafee's leadership, the State will lead by example," said Director of Administration Richard Licht. "We will require that new state vehicle purchases be electric vehicles or hybrids wherever possible. We are pleased to be able to leverage Federal ARRA State Energy Program dollars to purchase electric vehicles and hybrids and to develop the network of charging stations at convenient locations throughout Rhode Island -- from coffee shops and supermarkets to state beaches and recreation areas."
Director Licht noted that the greening the state fleet is underway. "We have already replaced 30 gas-powered state cars with low-emission hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, using Federal ARRA dollars to offset the higher upfront costs," he explained. "Along with protecting the environment, the switch will save Rhode Island taxpayers' money because fuel costs are substantially lower."
Governor Chafee added that some of the public charging stations will be installed at the state beaches and recreation areas managed by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), crediting the leadership of Director of Environmental Management Janet Coit. "Many of these DEM sites generate clean solar or wind energy," noted Governor Chafee. "Using clean renewable energy to power electric vehicles is a great alternative to using imported gasoline."
The State Office of Energy Resources awarded the $781,225 contract to site and install the charging stations to ChargePoint, the leading provider of networked public charging stations in the United States with over 12,200 charging points installed across the country. ChargePoint is working with National Grid, Rhode Island's largest utility and a pioneer in electric vehicle charging station deployment.
ChargePoint CEO Pat Romano explained that the ChargePoint stations have state of the art features including the ability to locate, reserve and navigate to unoccupied charging stations with online tools and mobile applications. "Our charging units, each of which has two charging spots, provide all the features needed to make driving an electric vehicle easy and worry free," said Romano.
"The collaboration between the State of Rhode Island, ChargePoint and National Grid is a great example of a public-private partnership that works for Rhode Island and for the environment," said Edward White, Vice President, Customer and Business Strategy for National Grid. "Plug-in electric vehicles are more than just a new way to get around. They are a major part of a cleaner, more efficient transportation future. At National Grid, we are committed to making this new technology more viable and cost-effective for ourselves and our customers, and pleased to help make it happen in Rhode Island."
"It takes a strong public-private partnership to create a clean and efficient transportation future," said Marion Gold, Commissioner of the Office of Energy Resources. "We look forward to assisting Governor Chafee with his vision to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while saving taxpayers' dollars, working closely with our business partners. In Rhode Island, we spend over $1 billion in the transportation sector annually, primarily for petroleum products. Transitioning away from fossil fuels with this dual approach of a statewide network and transitioning the state's fleet will help the environment and it will keep more dollars in the Rhode Island economy."
"We are grateful for the opportunity to be the first location to receive an electric vehicle charging station through Governor Chafee's Rhode Island Charging Ahead initiative," said Roger Williams University President Donald J. Farish. "Across the university, our students, faculty and staff are committed to sustainability, and we look forward to continuing this partnership to protect our natural environment for future generations."