Rhode Island initiates vehicle charging station project

© Shutterstock

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is offering motorists free access to electric vehicle chargers as part of an effort to encourage electric vehicle use on state roadways.

The initiative to provide the chargers at two of the agency’s Park & Ride commuter lots is in accordance with the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) and National Grid.

The chargers will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week off of I-95 at the Park & Ride on Route 117 at Exit 10 in Warwick and the Park & Ride on Route 3 (Main Street) at Exit 1 in Hopkinton, per officials, who indicated the service would be free until the end of the year.

RIDOT and OER will evaluate usage patterns throughout the pilot program to help make decisions on deploying more charging stations.

“Electric cars are becoming more common on our streets, and the commuter parking lots we own are a perfect test bench for us to evaluate the demand for this service,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. said. “There are a number of barriers to electric car adoption, among them concerns about range and access to fast, convenient charging stations. These stations help alleviate those concerns.”

State Energy Commissioner Nicholas S. Ucci said transportation is the state’s costliest and most carbon-intense energy sector, accounting for 40 percent of statewide energy expenditures and 36 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions.

The charging stations feature 240-volt Level II and direct current fast charging (DCFC) options. The Level II chargers provide 25 miles of range per hour of charging, while the DCFC chargers will provide approximately 250 miles of range in an hour of charging.