The City of St. Charles is thinking about going electric. On Tuesday, the city council discussed installing charging stations for electric vehicles throughout the area.
St. Charles is one of many municipalities that is making that change.
“I remember days ago, people thought it was in the future. Ten years ago, we were instrumental in starting the EVIT program,” said Michael Myers, instructor for the IBEW Training Center. “Ten years ago, we started instructing journeyman wiremen on the installation of charging stations. When it comes to charging stations, there’s not much to do. You bolt it to the ground, you wire it up, and it’s done. The real problem comes in with the calculations. How much load can I put on that building? How many can I put on there? This is one of the issues they’re going to come up tonight is, do we want level one chargers or level two chargers, or what are we expecting? I think the first thing they have to realize is what our goal is.”
In the Morganford neighborhood, Guarantee Electrical does a lot of work in the EV market, such as the solar grid and power stations at the IBEW complex.
At Tuesday’s meeting, city council members are discussing level one, level two, or level three charging stations coming to parts of St. Charles.
“A lot of times, you have chargers that look this size that are level one or level two; this is a level two charger,” said Mike Seger, vice president of energy solutions for Guarantee Electrical. “It’s all based upon how quickly you can put power into the battery of the car.”
And more power for quicker charges means more electricity demand.
“Necessity is the mother of invention. So now we have to figure out how we are going to accommodate all these vehicles that are going to be on the road,” Myers said. “One of the ways I know in talking with people is a DC power grid. We could have a five- or 10-megawatt solar farm with battery storage. I’m not talking about your car battery. I’m talking about a shipping container that is nothing but a battery, and we put these with solar fields to have DC power for our charging stations. And I see this becoming the new gas station of the future.”