La Crescent

City of La Crescent adds electric vehicle charging in high-traffic corridor

Houston County's 1st public level 2 charger

Charging into the future

 

The City of La Crescent in Southeast Minnesota is excited to be the first site in Houston County to offer public electric vehicle charging with the recently commissioned level 2 chargers in Veteran’s Park.

"The benefits to residents include not just free charging, but also reduced emissions and better air quality from the use of electric vehicles—and it promotes tourism, too," shared the City’s Sustainability Coordinator, Jason Ludwigson. "Our traffic counts through the area are among the highest in Southeast Minnesota and we’ve put the chargers where people will be—at the new convention center and hotel," he continued.

 

The benefits to residents include not just free charging, but also reduced emissions and better air quality from the use of electric vehicles—and it promotes tourism, too.

City’s Sustainability Coordinator, Jason Ludwigson

Powering clean transportation

The charging station is owned by the City of La Crescent and positioned on city-owned property. While level 1 chargers deliver between 3 to 5 miles of range per hour during electric vehicle charging, a level 2 charger delivers between 12 to 60 miles of range. La Crescent selected a higher 48 amperage model charger to supply at the higher end of the level 2 charging range. “The charging depends on the battery size in the car, and whether the car is a plug-in hybrid or full electric vehicle, so the time to a full charge is a different calculation depending on the vehicle,” said Ludwigson.

 

This exciting development for the City of La Crescent, local residents, and those traveling in the area with electric vehicles was featured on the local news, WXOW TV. In that story, Jason Ludwigson said that the new chargers are intended to promote and encourage electric vehicle use.

"We're now part of a developing network of electric vehicle charging stations so that people feel comfortable and confident that if they have an electric vehicle, they will have reliable and accessible places to charge it," said Ludwigson.

La Crescent is not collecting payment for the electricity delivered for vehicle charging. The available options, such as subscribing to a charging network that can accept and process credit card payments, was expected to be several times more than the anticipated cost of the electricity. A CERTs Seed Grant paid for labor to install the charger at $3,030, bringing the city cost down to around $7,000 for the equipment. 

When asked if the city had any lessons learned, Ludwigson said that one of the largest challenges was bringing electricity 200 feet from the city well house to the parking lot. As for what’s next? “Planning ahead is much easier than trying to install infrastructure after the fact,” said Ludwigson. “Electric vehicles are the future. In addition to this charger, the city has been working with MiEnergy Electric Cooperative to plan capacity for home charging of vehicles in the new Horse Track Meadows development near La Crescent.”

We're now part of a developing network of electric vehicle charging stations so that people feel comfortable and confident that if they have an electric vehicle, they will have reliable and accessible places to charge it.

City’s Sustainability Coordinator, Jason Ludwigson

Plugging in to other efforts

The project is an extension of the City’s sustainability work through the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program. Since joining the program in 2015, La Crescent advanced in the program to Step 2 in 2017 and Step 3 in 2020. During that time they won a state award for building benchmarking, installed several solar electric arrays, subscribed to a community solar garden, and adopted a dark sky ordinance. In 2020 they advanced to a Gold SolSmart city status, and were recently accepted into the Xcel Energy Partners in Energy program. La Crescent is currently in the process of developing an Energy Action Plan. Promotion and education about electric vehicles and charging, along with a ribbon cutting for the EV charger, will be among the events to happen in late spring or early summer through that plan.

Project Snapshot

 
  • Technology: EV charging stations
  • Southeast CERT Seed Grant: $3,030
  • Total Project Cost: $10,881
  • Other Funds: city budget
  • Project Team: Jason Ludwigson, Terry Erickson, Bill Waller, Jay Gillete, Tyler Benish with City of La Crescent; Josh Ross with P & T Electric; Tom Ezdon, Electric Vehicle Owner and Enthusiast
  • People Involved and Reached: 2,112
  • Annual Energy Savings: 18,682,888 BTUs saved, 227 gallons gasoline avoided
  • Annual Renewable Energy Used: 1,584 kWh
     
 
More stories, delivered

Sign up for our email newsletter