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South Valley Journal

Herriman passes on vehicle charging stations for now

Oct 30, 2018 03:24PM ● By Jana Klopsch

With electric car sales on the rise, Herriman elected officials recently decided not to purchase and install five charging stations for city hall. (Pixabay)

By Travis Barton | travis@mycityjournals.com 

Charging stations for electric vehicles will not be coming to Herriman City Hall just yet. 

After discussions in September about possibly adding five or six charging stations to the city hall parking lot, the city council ultimately decided now wasn’t the right time. 

“I would rather use the money elsewhere,” said Councilwoman Nicole Martin said during the Sept. 26 work meeting. 

That money would be the $36,000 the council originally approved to purchase and install electric vehicle supply equipment, according to city documents. Research from city staff — which included discussions with Rocky Mountain Power and electric car suppliers and consultants—found it would cost a little over $31,000 to install five stations with an additional $3,250 annually in ongoing costs for maintenance, utility, and data and reporting.  

Though the sale of electric vehicles continues to grow, up from 17,425 in 2011 to 199,826 in 2017 according to evadoption.com, councilmembers were hesitant on the value to the city and whether it was the government’s responsibility to provide charging stations for residents to use. 

“Realistically, how many of our residents are even using this, or how many will jump on this?” asked Martin. “Is the 32,000 worth both of those things, particularly if it’s serving such a small percentage of residents to make it simply not a good [return on investment] on those tax dollars?”

And whether it was the government’s responsibility to provide charging stations for residents to use. 

“My only thing is nobody is paying for the gas in my car,” said Councilwoman Sherrie Ohrn. “I come to the city, and nobody’s there to fill up my car.” She could understand a business installing a port to entice customers, but to use taxpayer money for electric cars and not gas powered cars was questionable. 

City staff suggested it might be more about sending a message to residents that city leaders are striving to do its part to help with air quality. 

“The No. 1 issue that’s affecting business and this valley is air pollution,” said Assistant City Manager Gordon Haight. 

The biggest contributor to poor air quality, Martin said, was the transportation system “so that we’re not sitting on the freeway or Bangerter polluting the air for an hour like I was today because I had nowhere to go.”

There are three levels of charging stations for electric vehicles. Level one nets the user 3–5 miles for every hour of charge; level two gets 10–20 miles (and is most cost effective); and level three nets an 80 percent charge in 20–30 minutes (and is the most expensive). 

Two different types of stations also exist, network and non network. Network costs more (the $3,250 annual ongoing costs) but would give them the opportunity to set their own parameters for its use — time limits, assign certain rates, collect rates, collect data and reporting. 

Mayor David Watts was also concerned about the stations staying relevant, with technology advancing so quickly. “What’s to say this isn’t out of date in a few years?” he asked.

A few city employees use electric vehicles. One of them, City Planner Bryn McCarty, said it could be more of a destination point. She uses hers to drive to Park City, where she can charge for a few hours while she shops the outlets. McCarty suggested the charging station here would be used for those coming to use city amenities. 

Councilman Clint Smith said in the future “it’s something that we may need to look at. For city hall, I don’t think we’re there yet. I believe in it, I just don’t think we’re there yet.”