The Motley City Council approved a proposal to switch to a new provider for its electric car fast-charging station, Monday.
Public Works Director Bruce Brotherton brought the proposal forward after it was suggested during a meeting with Minnesota Power.
Under the new agreement between the city and Minnesota Power, the latter will provide maintenance and updated service to the 480-volt, fast-charging port. It is one of two owned by the city, located near the intersection of Highways 210 and 10, across from Brick’s Travel Center.
ZEF Energy of Minneapolis will install — free of charge to the city — the new communication/control board, along with a white, plastic shell with no brand association. The charger will be available to anyone via the use of a credit card. Service was previously provided by ChargePoint.
“(Right now,) unless you have the ChargePoint account or an app on your phone, log into and activate the thing, you can’t operate it,” Brotherton said.
The agreement also includes a one-year parts and labor warrantly. The city also gets two years of the ZEFNET operational platform. That includes data collection, load control, error status resolution, remote support and point-of-sale enablement.
There was also an option to purchase a parts-only warranty from ZEF for $1,250 during the second year of the agreement. Brotherton said Minnesota Energy recommended taking advantage of that option.
“For what we’re getting, it seems reasonable,” Brotherton said.
That last point sparked a second conversation.
Mayor Al Yoder asked if the city would start charging a fee for use of the station. It is currently free to hook up for those who have the ability to do so via the ChargePoint app.
“We could,” Brotherton said. “I think at some point we should look at a minimal charge, anyway.”
City Clerk/Treasurer Curt Bryniarski said ZEF Energy has a $3 standard hookup fee with a charge of approximately 20 cents per minute. The company would take a 10% service fee and send the amount of the other 90% to the city on a monthly basis. It also costs $500 per year to use the card reader, but $200 of that is covered by Minnesota Power.
Yoder said. “That’s really why we have it.”
He added that, now that the city is paying $1,250 for the second-year parts warranty with ZEF, “it would be nice to at least break even.”
Brotherton said the fast-charger was a much more popular option than the other port, which is a 240-volt, Level II charger. It can re-charge a vehicle at a rate of about 20-30 miles per hour, while the fast-charger can give drivers about 80 miles of charge in 30 minutes.
Both he and Bryniarski said they believed most locations charge for fast-charging stations.
“I think you should find an average of what the other stations are doing and we do the same,” Yoder said.
“Like Al’s saying, it would be nice to at least get this $1,200 back; at least cover the expenses of it,” said Council Member Amy Hutchison.
She also asked Brotherton if he had information on how much use the stations are getting.
He said he did not have the information available, but ZEF Energy will be able to provide the same reports that have been available to the city via ChargePoint.
The Council voted 3-0 to accept the agreement using ZEF Energy and to approve the $1,250 purchase of the second-year parts warranty. Council Member Jace Carlson was absent from Monday’s meeting.
“It seems like there’s always cars up there,” Hutchison said.
Motley City Council Briefs:
In other business Monday, the Motley City Council:
• Announced that during a performance review on May 10, Public Works Director Bruce Brotherton received 52.8 points out of a possible 56 — a “highly satisfactory” grade;
• Accepted a recommendation from Fire Chief Brad Olson to use Yager’s Fire Protection of Little Falls to do this year’s annual fire extinguisher inspection;
• Received word from Police Chief Jason Borash that an offer had been made and accepted, pending background checks, to a candidate for the city’s open full-time police officer position;
• Accepted a $2,506.97 restitution payment for damage done by a suspect to one of the Police Department’s squad cars during a transport in 2019;
• Approved a request from Brotherton to attend the Minnesota Rural Water Association’s conference in August;
• Set public hearings for 6:15 p.m. Monday, July 12, for proposed changes to city ordinances involving garbage containers and administrative fees;
• Set National Night Out for Aug. 3 in Converse Park; and
• Made a $550 donation for youth swimming lessons.
The next meeting of the Motley City Council is at 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 12, at Motley City Hall.