RS Automotives, a filling station in Washington DC that’s been part of the Takoma Park landscape since 1958 has become the first gas station in the US to completely transition to electric vehicle (EV) charging, after a nudge from the owner’s daughter persuaded owner Depeswar Doley to make the move.
Mr Doley, who has owned the park since 1997 told CNBC News, said he was already unhappy with how oil and gasoline companies were structuring contracts, including limiting suppliers, extended contractual agreements based on sales volumes and conditional maintenance agreements which had already prompted his consideration of alternative business options.
Doley told CNBC: “My daughter, who is 17, she is the one who convinced me after I told her that I was going to talk to the [Electric Vehicle Institute] guys.”
The suggestion was originally made by a public works manager for Takoma Park, to open a conversation with the Electric Vehicle Institute, but says Doley, on relating the idea to his daughter, “she said, ‘Dad, that’s a really good suggestion.’”
As for possible short-term concerns around early-success, Doley said he’s not too worried about the possible effects on his income.
“You notice there are not too many electric vehicles on the road,” he said. “So it’s not something that I expect to become rich overnight or something like that, but it’s a good cause [and] good for the environment.”
Maryland currently has over 20,700 registered EVs, with the area boasting an electric taxi service to boot in need of more chargers for their business.
The conversion of the station was jointly funded by the Electric Vehicle Institute and the Maryland Energy Administration, which provided a grant of $786,000.
Matthew Wade, EVI CEO, noted that the area has had issues regarding the availability of charging stations not meeting the demand of EVs, adding that Takoma Park had just two chargers, one in a parking lot belonging to a local community centre, and another at a street location being used to capacity.
“They were fully utilised throughout the day; people were lining up,” Wade said. “The city was happy they were being used, but then they said, ‘Wait, no one can get in this parking lot, because these taxis are using these chargers.’”
Wade says the new EV station’s layout is designed to work with the flow of traffic and will help alleviate charging congestion in the area.
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With four charging points connected to a high-output 200kW charging system, vehicles can be charged to 80% of capacity in less than half-an-hour, with drivers accommodated in an automated convenience store, equipped with screens that monitor charging progress.
“Maryland is proud to be a national leader when it comes to clean and renewable energy, climate change and the promotion of electric infrastructure and vehicles,” said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan in a release. “This fully converted gas-to-electric charging station is a prime example of our administration’s commitment to the environment and transportation.”
“Everyone gets behind it; it’s really neat,” Wade said. “It’s one of the few spaces out there that is not so divisive, and it gets people really excited.”