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Northampton Installs Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) — For those with an electric car or those thinking about buying one, charging up in Northampton won’t be a problem. There are now two charges each in the downtown parking garage, on Crafts Avenue and at the main fire station on King Street.

“Electrical vehicles are now on the market,” said Chris Mason, Energy and Sustainability Officer for Northampton. “And yet there’s no place to charge them except for perhaps at your house. So, this is a way to overcome that chicken and egg problem.”

The demand for stations is growing. According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, there were 47 electric vehicles registered in 2009. In 2010, 77. In 2011, 124. In 2012, it jumped to 980. Most of them were around Boston.

But it’s still a ‘build it and they will come’ kind of thing. Business are reluctant to risk a big investment on building charging stations. That’s why the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources picked up the bill on Northampton’s charging stations to kick start things.

And if going green in and of itself isn’t enough of an incentive, you can save green because for now, Northampton is covering the cost of the electricity. Mason says the electricity cost is expected to be minimal.

“Based on the growth in hybrid car use in the Pioneer Valley, I would believe that within five years, we will have, these chargers will be heavily used and at that point, we’ll probably start charging for it,” said Mason.

Two more charging stations are planned. They’ll be installed at the new parking garage being built on the site of the old police station.

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