- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City Power & Light plans to spend about $20 million to install 1,001 public electric car chargers in an effort to make the Kansas City region one of the most convenient areas in the country to drive an electric car.

The utility announced Monday that it will install the chargers in the Kansas City metropolitan area, as well as Clinton, St. Joseph, Sedalia and other communities where KCP&L; has customers. The plan is for the network, to be called the Clean Charge Network, to be ready by summer, The Kansas City Star reported (https://bit.ly/1zoKKRO ). The region currently has about 40 chargers.

KCP&L; plans to seek a rate increase to help pay for the network. If the increase is approved, it would cost residential customers between $1 and $2 a year, the utility said.

Terry Bassham, president and CEO of KCP&L;, said the utility began considering the network about six months ago because its customer area has less than 1 percent of the 260,000 plug-in electric cars being driven in the U.S.

“We are here to change that,” he said.

The program will offer free charges for at least two years, with the cost of electricity paid by host businesses, such as movie theaters, shopping centers and restaurants. For example, Nissan has agreed to pay the costs for two years for 16 super-fast chargers that will be part of the network.

The utility also plans to build enough infrastructure to allow the number of chargers to be doubled in the future.

The only other state to have more than 1,000 public charging stations is California, which has nearly 2,000, according to Kelly Gilbert, transportation director at the Metropolitan Energy Center. The only other state with more than 500 is Texas.

“This project will make Kansas City one of the best-equipped metropolitan areas in the nation to serve an electrified vehicle fleet, and sets us up to be a nationwide leader,” she said.

KCP&L; is buying the chargers from ChargePoint, a California company that will also manage the network.

Pasquale Romano, ChargePoint’s president and CEO, said the network will be convenient, with a mobile app to locate the nearest chargers and their availability. The chargers will work on all electric cars sold in the U.S.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com


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