Sun Prairie alders plug into electric car charging idea

Original article from Sun Prairie Star.

Electric car drivers will get a charge out of this: They’ll now be able to juice up their batteries in the city.

ZEF Energy Co. hopes to have the fast charge station ready to go by May in the city-owned parking lot at 252 E. Lane Street, just behind Market Street Diner.

The Minneapolis-based company said the Sun Prairie location is part of its effort to establish a network of fast-charging stations from the Twin Cities to Madison and Milwaukee. ZEF Energy Co. President Matthew Blackler said with the predicted growth of electric car use rising, Sun Prairie will be a go-to spot for drivers along the route.

“This will stimulate electric car use in the area, and people will drop in here on the way down I-94, giving people more confidence to drive further,” Blackler said.


The fast charge takes 20 minutes, in comparison with the normal 4-5 hours on slow chargers. He said electric car drivers seek out fast chargers through mobile apps and navigational aids that will point them to the Sun Prairie location.

The company has 11 chargers in the Twin Cities area, and will install four to five in Milwaukee and two to three in Madison by the end of the year.

He said research shows that by 2022, electric cars will be cheaper than their gas-powered vehicle equivalents.

The company will bring in its $50,000 charging equipment in at no cost to the city and will lease the parking spot for $100 a year.

Users will pay $5.95 per charge.

Alders approved the agreement with ZEF Energy at the March 1 City Council meeting. Alders Al Guyant (District 4) and Mike Jacobs (District 3) said the city should commit to bringing in electric car chargers to expand use, promote renewable energy resources and reduce emissions.

District 1 Alder Hariah Hutkowski said he had concerns with giving his OK because there are only an estimated eight electric car users in the community, and did not want to expend city resources for such a small minority.

Blackler said he’s heard those concerns before and looks forward sharing more information with city officials once the station is up and running.

“I welcome any city alder to drive with me to see what it is all about," he said.

Matthew Blackler