City of Hamilton wants more electric vehicle charging stations

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The electric vehicle market has soared in the past few years, and that pace isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon, according to the International Energy Agency, and the city of Hamilton is trying to help support an under-equipped infrastructure.

S&P Global Mobility reports that the current charging infrastructure “is not nearly robust enough” to accommodate the growing market. Between last year and 2025, the number of EV charging stations will need to quadruple to accommodate the growth. And by 2030, it will need to grow more than eight-fold to meet the demand, and that includes home charging stations, the agency said.

The city of Hamilton owns four EV charging stations, and it plans to install a fifth station by this spring. Two more stations could be added to the city’s portfolio if they are awarded an OKI grant.

“They’re used daily,” said Michael Gurr, Hamilton’s senior project manager with the Public Works Department, of the city’s three station locations. “There are several vehicles that are coming through the city of Hamilton. The use varies by location, but the Main Street location is used quite frequently just because it’s close to trendy shops and restaurants.”

From 2011 to 2021, EV sales nationally increased from 0.2% to 4.6%, according to the IEA. There are more than 400 EV and hybrid vehicles just in the Hamilton area, Gurr said, citing data provided by the state of Ohio.

“As more manufacturers produce more EV vehicles, I believe that number will substantially increase,” he said.

This past summer, the city installed four dual-port Level 2 charging stations, two at the city parking lot at 218 S. Third St., and one station each at 123 Main St. and 790 N. 3rd St. These stations, depending on the type of EV, could take between a few to several hours to fully charge a vehicle.

While the ones on South Third and Main streets are used daily, the North Third Street location, which is near Spooky Nook Sports, is most active during the weekends when the giant complex is at its busiest, Gurr said.

“We’re looking to achieve more grants and try to install more,” he said.

The city’s fifth Level 2 dual-port EV charging station will be at the Fitton Center through a no-cost lease agreement with the Hamilton Community Foundation. The lease does allow the city to expand to additional spaces if the demand calls for it.

“The city made a determination to expand our EV charging station availability,” said Edwin Porter, Hamilton’s executive director of Infrastructure.

Porter said this Fitton Center location was identified because of its proximity to the businesses on Main and High streets, the city’s primary east-west corridor. It’s also close to the city’s bike trail network, and it will be near the future The Well House Hotel.

The fifth station will cost the city around $15,000, including the necessary equipment. Hamilton’s staff will install the newest EV station, and that will save the city a few thousand dollars, Porter said.

Hamilton is also seeking an OKI grant for a pair of dual-port DC fast-charging stations, which funds are through a federal carbon reduction program, Porter said.

The $650,000 OKI grant would require a 20% match by the city, and Porter said the labor costs associated with city staff doing the installation would be part of that required financial match. If successful, the city plans to install one dual-port charger at its compressed natural gas filling station at 2220 S. Erie Blvd. and one at its parking lot at 141 Market St., which is near the Butler County Auditor’s building.

“Both of these are close to high-volume traffic areas where someone can park and they can charge, and it’s close to amenities,” Porter said.

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