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updated: 10/24/2013 5:31 AM

Elgin won't get more electric vehicle chargers until sponsors step up

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Elgin won't be getting more free electric vehicle charging stations until sponsors step up to cover ongoing operational costs.

The city has one free charging station, sponsored by Waste Management, for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids at the Centre of Elgin's parking deck.

City council members voted 5-4 Wednesday to postpone a vote to install three additional free stations downtown.

The Fox Valley Electric Automobile Association offered to sponsor the cost of the three new stations for the first year, which is estimated to cost about $1,170.

Council members Rich Dunne, Terry Gavin, John Prigge, Carol Rauschenberger and Toby Shaw voted to wait until long-term sponsorship is in place.

Shaw said this would be a great sponsoring opportunity for car dealerships that sell electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The city's installation expense would be $4,996 after reimbursement through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's electric vehicle infrastructure rebate program. Rebate applications must be submitted by Dec. 19.

The private sector should pay for the stations, Gavin said.

"If you chose to buy an electric vehicle, it's your choice. It's not the role of city council or city government to provide energy for your choice."

There is no demand for additional stations, Prigge said. "Who are we trying to impress here? Is someone going to write an article about us? Is someone going to give us an award or a plaque?"

City Manager Sean Stegall said the current charging station is used often.

"I'm at the Centre five or six times per week in the parking garage. Nearly 100 percent of the time I'm there, it is taken."

The city's sustainability action plan specifically mentions facilitating the creation of charging stations.

The stations shouldn't take prime parking spaces, Councilman Rich Dunne said.

In addition to the city's free station, there is another at the McGrath Nissan car dealership in Elgin.

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