Proposed electric vehicle charging stations in Kansas City could spur electric cars in Lawrence

A project that will bring 10 electric vehicle charging stations to the Kansas City metro area is good news for a consortium in Lawrence that wants to make the use of electric vehicles feasible in northeast Kansas.

On Friday, Kansas City Power and Light revealed eight locations in Kansas and Missouri where the charging stations will be placed. The $300,000 project is being partially funded with $150,000 in stimulus money funneled through the U.S. Department of Energy.

The news comes just as the first electric vehicle charging station is preparing to open in Lawrence. The second charging station in the state, the Lawrence station is part of Kansas University’s Center for Design Research on west campus, a building meant to showcase the latest in green technology.

Expected to open this summer, the charging station will be free and open to the public 24 hours a day.

“It is going to be a catalyst for a lot of really great things,” said Greg Thomas, the chair of the Center for Design Research.

Westar Energy also has plans to put in a charging station at its service station on E. 27th Street. That charging station will be available to the public and is expected to open later this summer.

It’s hoped that having charging stations scattered through Lawrence and Kansas City will make people more confident about purchasing electric cars, Thomas said.

While electric vehicles are beyond the point of being limited to a 100-mile range, having stations in Kansas City will make it easier for Lawrence electric vehicle drivers to make the trip and perhaps top off on electricity if needed.

“If they do (the 10 stations) and we do our share here in Lawrence, I think that it is going to be a huge momentum or impetus for things to start happening,” Thomas said.

The electricity from the 10 changing stations in the Kansas City area will be free to the public until at least 2013. However, users will have to pay a nominal fee to the electric vehicle manufacturer, Coulomb Technologies. Lily Pad EV will be the vendor for the charging stations. The stations are expected to open by spring.

Locations of KCP&L electric vehicle changing stations:

  • Black and Veatch, Overland Park.

  • The city of Lee’s Summit, Lee’s Summit, Mo.

  • Commerce Bank, Kansas City, Mo.

  • Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Kansas City Mo.

  • Heartland Hospital, St. Joseph, Mo.

  • Two stations at Johnson County Community College, Overland Park.

  • Two stations at Park Place Village, Leawood.

  • Union Station, Kansas City, Mo.-

By Christine Metz

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