Breaking News

Reading to get its first publicly-accessible charging stations for electric vehicles at Albright College

Owning an electric car in Reading will soon be a lot easier, thanks to a new endeavor by Albright College.

The school has announced it will build 16 electric vehicle charging stations on its campus — the first publicly-available charging stations in the city.

“One of Albright’s important pillars is as an anchor institution in Reading,” said Dr. Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Albright president. “We want to help build our community as a place where people live, work, learn and play. This will make new opportunities available to the community.”

Each station will have two charging ports, meaning there will be capacity to charge 32 vehicles at one time.

Ten of the charging stations will be installed in the college’s visitor parking lot and Shirk Stadium parking lot, both along North 13th Street. The other six will be placed throughout campus.

Fetrow said having access to charging stations in the city, where it otherwise might be difficult to find a place to charge an electric vehicle, helps lower the barrier to buying and using the environmentally-friendly machines.

“Our neighbors will be able to come right on our campus and charge their vehicle,” she said.

The general public will be charged a fee to use the charging stations, however Albright staff and students will be able to use them for free.

Purchasing and installing the charging stations — a project being done in collaboration with Evolution Energy Partners — will cost about $170,000. Albright has received grant money to help offset some of the cost, getting $85,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Alternative Fuel Incentive Program and $10,000 from the Berks County Community Foundation’s Met-Ed Sustainable Energy Fund.

Fetrow said the college hopes to have the charging stations up and running by sometime in March.

Along with the charging station project, Albright is embarking on a plan to convert its 29-vehicle fleet to all-electric. So far, five electric vehicles have been added to the fleet.

Fetrow said that as leases for vehicles in the fleet end they will be replaced with electric versions. The swap to all-electric should be complete within the next three years, she said.

Albright has received a $27,305 grant from the DEP’s Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program for Vehicles to help offset the incremental costs of replacing the first five college-leased, gasoline-powered vehicles with electric vehicles.

Kera Wierzbicki, Albright’s environmental health and safety officer and chair of the college’s Committee for Sustainability and Stewardship, said the charging station and electric fleet projects are part of the school’s dedication to making environmentally-friendly choices.

“The inclusion of energy efficient equipment and practices is consistent with Albright College’s overall commitment to environmental awareness and responsibility,” she said.

The two new projects are actually the second phase of a strategic partnership with Evolution Energy Partners to bring more green technology Albright. The school is wrapping up a project to convert lighting on campus to LED, a move that will reduce the college’s annual carbon footprint by more than 3.4 million pounds of carbon dioxide.

Reading’s first public electric vehicle charging stations will be at Albright College