Electric car drivers in Gainesville can make a pit stop downtown with a new, fast charging station off of Main Street.
The charging station from Indigo Energy sits between the Hunt Tower and the Collegiate Grill and is the only charging station for public use in downtown Gainesville, within walking distance of shops and restaurants. The nearest station is at the Hampton Inn on Jesse Jewell Parkway, a further trek to the downtown square.
“The demand is here,” said Colson Rivers, an account manager at Indigo Energy, “We’ve had people send us pictures showing these spots are taken.”
Demand is about 60% higher than they expected since installing the station on June 7, Rivers said.
The charging station has two plugs and charges a rate of $3 per hour, or $2.75 per hour if users have the Blink app. Newer electric car models can have a full-charge driving range of more than 300 miles.
Electric vehicle drivers should note the amount of time they take, because the station comes with an idle fee. Once fully charged, Blink app users will get a notification that they must unplug their car within 15 minutes, or else they will be charged $1 per minute that they remain plugged in after the grace period, said Fran Rosales, an account executive at Indigo.
Rivers has an electric vehicle, and he gets about 40 miles per hour of charge, he said.
The city of Gainesville installed an electric charging station back in 2015 at the site that became Carroll Daniel’s new headquarters, but it was removed within a couple years once the building was constructed.
Gainesville has plans to install charging stations for up to 32 spaces in the Main Street Parking deck in a deal with Georgia Power. Many of those spaces would be designated for Gainesville Renaissance residents next door.
Indigo Energy plans to expand its operations in Gainesville and around North Georgia. It will add a charging station at Main Street Park in Dawsonville next week, said Fran Rosales, an account executive at Indigo. They have been in talks with Gainesville officials about adding stations to the new North Parking Deck near the Gainesville Library, Rosales said, and they hope to add stations at Longstreet Clinic and Northeast Georgia Medical Center.
“Hopefully by the end of the year we’ll be at the hospital,” Rosales said.
The Indigo charger is also faster than most stations in the state, Rivers said, because they are planning for the future. Georgia only allows stations to charge by the hour, rather than the amount of energy used, so most stations have a lower energy capacity.
“Nobody was operating at 80 amps, because it was going to cost them more to operate the station,” Rivers said.
This way the stations are “future proof” in case state laws change to allow Indigo and other vendors to charge for the energy used, similar to how normal cars are charged for the amount of gasoline bought.
Because of its high amp capacity, Indigo’s station charges faster than almost any other in the state, Rivers said.
“People hear about those long charging times, because you’re hooked up to a station that was installed at that lower (amp) level,” he said.