HJ - Tesla Charging Station

Three entities from the city of Clarinda have applied to have an electric-car charging station as a part of MidAmerican Energy Company’s plan to increase the number of stations in the state. Pictured is a charging station in Council Bluffs for Tesla brand cars. (photo courtesy of Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil)

At least three facilities in Clarinda submitted applications for a new electric vehicle fast-charging station Friday, Aug. 30, to MidAmerican Energy Company.

MidAmerican Energy recently announced a first-of-its-kind effort in Iowa to establish a network of charging stations in 15 urban and rural communities throughout the state. Clarinda was identified as one of those locations.

The publically accessible direct current fast-charging stations would feature two charging plugs per station. A DC fast charger, also called a “Level 3” charger, can generally charge an electric vehicle in 20 to 45 minutes.

One of the applicants for the Clarinda fast-charging station was the Clarinda Carnegie Art Museum. Museum curator Trish Bergren met with the Clarinda City Council Wednesday, Aug. 28, to request permission to submit the application since the charging station would be located on city property north of the museum on Chestnut Street.

After the meeting, Clarinda Economic Development Corporation Director Renee Riedel said she was aware of at least two other applicants. Those applicants are both located in the southern portion of Clarinda.

Clarinda Regional Health Center is another applicant. That was explained during the center’s board meeting Tuesday, Aug. 26.

Bergren told the city council Wednesday Clarinda Carnegie Art Museum owners Robert and Karen Duncan wished to apply to be the site of the charging station since they support the use of electric cars.

“I know we’ve had about 20 people since Thanksgiving that have come to CCAM that actually have an electric car,” Bergren said.

Initially, Bergren said she planned to have the charging station located in the two designated parking spaces for the museum located in the alley behind the facility. However, through her discussions with MidAmerican Energy, she learned the station must two full parking stalls dedicated to the charging station.

“I wouldn’t want to put it in the front of the building to obscure traffic. Not to mention, it depends on the electric vehicle, a lot of times you have to actually back up. (The connection is) not where the gas tank normally is, but in the back hidden under a light,” Bergren said.

As a result, Bergren proposed placing the charging station in the first two parking stalls on Chestnut Street. There are a total of five parking stalls currently located on the street.

“I discussed it with (MidAmerican Energy) and they agreed that would be the only option for the property. The problem is that is actually not my property. It’s actually city property. Where the unit would go is on the grassy knoll,” Bergren said.

The Clarinda Carnegie Art Museum would have an agreement with MidAmerican Energy to host the charging station, while MidAmerican Energy manages and maintains the charging station. Then, after three years, the Clarinda Carnegie Art Museum would take possession of the station.

“You have the option to charge a fee for the charging. After doing some research, the average cost is about $6.50 for one time,” Bergren said. “If agreed upon, we could either split it, half to the city and half to the Carnegie Art Museum, or we could actually get the $6.50.”

Depending on the model of electric car, Bergren said a vehicle can travel approximately 200 to 225 miles before needing to recharge. She said she was aware of charging stations in Kansas City and Des Moines, and MidAmerican Energy has also proposed placing a charging station in Avoca.

“They are putting one in Avoca because that is a nice midpoint between here and Des Moines for anyone coming up from Kansas City,” Bergren said.

The council voted 4-1 in favor of authorizing Bergren to submit an application for the charging station. Council member Gary Alger cast the opposing vote.

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