The city of Grand Marais provides a one year update on the electric vehicle charging stations
Shane Steele

The city of Grand Marais provides a one year update on the electric vehicle charging stations

One year later, the city of Grand Marais is happy to report that the electric vehicle (EV) charging stations are a success. 

WTIP’s Kalli Hawkins checked in with Shane Steele, the sustainability coordinator for the city of Grand Marais, on the one-year installation anniversary for an update. 

Steele said, “There have been 604 charging sessions.” 

In addition, Steele shared that the EV charging stations have brought in $5000 in fees over the past year. 

While the city didn’t identify any annual goals for the EV charging stations, they are happy with the results and look forward to seeing what the rest of the busy summer season will bring. 

The city-owned EV charging stations were installed by the city’s power provider, the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA), on July 7, 2021. The EV charging stations were donated by SMMPA, with no initial costs for city taxpayers or utility customers.

Steele tells WTIP that the city currently has two “level 2” stations and one “DC fast” charging station. The level two station can charge two cars at once and would typically charge an electric vehicle (EV) in three to five hours.

One of the level two stations is at city hall, along with the DC fast charging station. The other level two charging station is at the Grand Marais Recreation Park.

Steele said, “Between the fast charger and the level two chargers, we’re seeing about 25% of the charging sessions are on the fast charger, and 75% are on the level two chargers.”

The level two chargers produce a slower charge and are available for charging at $2 an hour. In contrast, the fast chargers have a $5 connection fee, with a 30 cents a minute rate. 

In other EV charging news, Steele provided an update on the recently announced home EV charging rate pilot program. 

The city has established an incentive program for EV owners who are Grand Marais Public Utilities customers to charge during off-peak times. The city is offering a special rate to EV owners to charge between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m.

“The incentive is to try to shift some behavior so that we don’t have such high spikes in electricity demand,” said Steele.

The city has received interest from four EV owners in joining the pilot program. The city is looking for one more participant to sign up. 

WTIP’s Kalli Hawkins spoke with Shane Steele, sustainability coordinator for Grand Marais, for an EV charging update. Audio from the interview is below.