January 23, 2022

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Electric cars could soon be able to power up at Downtown parking garage | Local News

The City of Kenosha will soon have an electrical vehicle charging station accessible to the public.

Located inside the Downtown parking structure on Eighth Avenue between 56th and 57th streets, the city has entered into a yearlong contract with JuiceBar, which administers the AmpUp software network, for the charging station. In mid-November the City Council unanimously approved the contract, which began Dec. 1. However, marketing for public use of the new station has yet to commence.

According to Nelson Ogbuagu, the city’s transit director, the city will charge users $1.50 per hour to charge their vehicles with JuiceBar assessing an 11 to 14 percent fee depending on the usage. Most users will download AmpUp’s app to find charging stations available in the area and be able to pay the fees using the app.






Nelson Ogbuagu

Ogbuagu


“If you book online through the app, they expect you to pay in addition to the $1.50 per hour,” Ogbuagu said during the Nov. 15 council meeting, prior to the contract’s approval. “So if you use their app to charge your vehicle, you’ll pay (at least) an additional 11 percent.”

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According to the transit director, the wattage cost is .132 cents per hour, which is subject to change in accordance with We Energies rate changes. The city currently has one charging station machine which uses about 7.5 kilowatts, or about 99 cents per hour. The average hourly electrical charge is equivalent to about 25 miles.

Under the contract, the city will pay $372 for the first year, which includes a $180 activation fee, and $192 for the licensed use of the proprietary sim card and software administration. The city has the option of renewing the contract for up to two more years at cost of $192 per year. With the hardware, already in place with the current station, the city could also opt to install an adjacent machine, if the current station use was successful.

Part of ramp plan

According to Ogbuagu, the charging station was part of the bid on construction costs associated with the $8.4 million parking structure. The parking ramp opened in March with more than 360 spaces.

According to City Administrator John Morrissey, the software company and JuiceBar have a “monopoly” on the electrical charging stations associated with such structures.






Kenosha City Administrator John Morrissey

Morrissey


“If we weren’t going to use them, we’d have to have a whole new system installed with them,” he said. “After working with them, getting to this point, we have this one year contract.”

Ald. David Bogdala, who asked about the bidding process, was also curious about how an electric vehicle owner might go about reserving time charging up.






David Bogdala

Bogdala


“So let’s say I went online and booked an hour to charge my car, and I pulled in, parked, hooked it up; will it shut off after an hour?” Bogdala asked.

Bogdala said he was also concerned about how charging time use would be monitored.

Ogbuagu said the city Transit Department would work with the Police Department with enforcing the time limit.

“I think it’s going to be similar to anywhere else,” said Morrissey. He added that there has been talk about possibly adding a charging station at Simmons Island, with users reserving a spot.

“We’re not there with that app yet,” he said, adding that a sign would need to inform users of the time limit and any penalties for violating the charging terms, which could include the vehicle being towed, the driving cited, or both.

Ald. Dominic Ruffalo wondered whether all electrical vehicles had standard chargers that would enable them to use the new charging station.






Dominic Ruffalo

Ruffalo


“Are these just for Teslas, or Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt or are they all the same?” he asked.

Ogbuagu said that drivers of Tesla cars, for instance, would need to provide an adapter in order to successfully charge their vehicles.

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