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Verendrye, Enerbase cut ribbon on new car charging station

Ribbon cut on new car charging station

JIll Schramm/MDN Verendrye Electric’s Chevy Bolt gets charged up at the new Enerbase charging station Monday.

Charging an electric car became more convenient with the opening of a charging station in north Minot in early July.

On Monday, Verendrye Electric Cooperative and Enerbase celebrated the opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new station located at the Enerbase Travel Plaza, 4750 Highway 83 North. Charging stations also exist in Fargo and Bismarck but this is the state’s first fast-charging station capable of fueling electric vehicles that are not Tesla.

“This is a great option and inexpensive from what I hear, so it’s opening more doors, more opportunity, and I think it says a lot about the investment into our community for both entities,” Mayor Shaun Sipma said.

Newcomers to Minot, particularly those coming to Minot Air Force Base, who use electric vehicles now won’t have their transportation preference disrupted, he said.

“With Fargo and Bismarck, that now gives people an option to explore a little more of North Dakota,” he added. “It gives them a chance to come up to Minot and maybe tour northcentral North Dakota with their electric car and spend a little time in Minot.”

JIll Schramm/MDN Tony Bernhardt of Enerbase, left, and Randy Hauck of Verendrye Electric speak at an open house and ribbon cutting Monday for the new car charging station at right.

Enerbase general manager Tony Bernhardt said combining two progressive energy companies produces results like the charging station.

“The passion goes on, both with Verendrye and Enerbase. This is a joint effort,” he said. “This is monumental for Minot and the state of North Dakota.”

“We’ve got members that want technology,” Verendrye general manager Randy Hauck said. “Our whole goal here was to introduce this area to this new technology, and that’s been a cooperative way.”

When electric cooperatives were new, they taught members how to use kitchen appliances. The same is occurring now in introducing people to electric vehicles, he said.

Verendrye operates a Chevy Bolt EV for educational purposes. The Lignite Energy Council also had its Tesla on display at the ribbon-cutting event.

Verendrye and Enerbase are providing the electricity at the charging station for free during August.

Hauck said the Chevy Bolt can operate for about 250 miles without a recharge under normal conditions, which amounts to about $10 for a full recharge at the station.

Charging time is 30 to 45 minutes, which is considerably faster than many home charging systems.

The charger made by Chargepoint has an output of 62,000 watts. Enerbase and Verendrye received a grant from the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality to pay for 80 percent of the estimated $72,000 cost of the project.

The state has been awarding charging station grants through a fund established with a Volkswagen emissions penalty, and those grants should result in a number of stations across the state, Hauck said.

Bernhardt said Enerbase foresees electric cars increasing on the roads.

“This is the future,” he said. “There’s already been a number of cars that have used this.”

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