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Westport Gets Charged Up, Makes History

WESTPORT, Conn. – Clark Hanford drove his bright green 1981 electric ComutaCar to watch as the first town-owned charging station was unveiled Monday.

"I'm trying to do my bit to help be less a part of the problem," said Hanford, a Westport resident. "I feel good when I'm driving it. I plan to get solar panels to charge it."

Now, Hanford can charge his car at the first town-owned electric vehicle-charging station – located at the Luciano Park Commuter Lot on Charles Street in Westport. First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said he hopes the charging station will encourage more residents to purchase electric cars.

“I encourage Americans to make a lifestyle change" to help our planet, said Joseloff. “It’s not easy to be green. It’s not easy for a community to be green. It’s not easy for CL&P to be green,” but when a goal is set, it’s “a lot easier and safer for all of us.”

Cars are hooked up one at a time, with the Chevy Volt taking four hours to completely charge up on this system: the Level II, 240-volt charging station. Charging a Chevy Volt in a regular 120-volt socket takes about double that time. The electricity needed to fully charge an electric vehicle battery costs about $3 at home and as little as 25 cents away from home.

Westport is the first town in the nation to offer drivers a pay-by-phone option with Park NOW! from Mobile Now LLC. The charging station is free to parking pass-holders while the town evaluates the use of the station.

Connecticut Light & Power installed Westport’s charging station as part of its electric vehicle research project to study plug-in car recharging in New England. About 20 municipalities and business customers are expected to participate.

To raise awareness of plug-in electric vehicles, Northeast Utilities, CL&P’s parent company, developed an online resource called “Plug My Ride.”

Will you use Westport's charging station? Where would you like to see a charging station set up? Leave your suggestions in the box below.

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