From Norway to North Dakota: Fargo puts EV charging on the map in the Upper Midwest
What comes to your mind when you think of North Dakota? For those who haven’t yet had the pleasure of visiting, it could be cold winters with lots of snow, affable locals with an original dialect, or the 1996 Coen brothers movie “Fargo”. what people usually don’t think of is technological innovation, vibrant communities and lots of sunshine. Sunshine? Yes, and those elements all come together to revitalize communities, attract young tech workers, and power electric vehicles where you least expect them. Speaking of Fargo, in this first of a three-part series on North Dakota’s burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) scene, we travel from the state’s largest city to Norway and vice- versa.
In 2010, the city of Fargo put out a tender for a comprehensive plan asking people, “What kind of city do you want Fargo to be by 2030?” According to current Parking Commissioner and former Deputy City Mayor Mike Williams, “We received 8,700 responses. If an idea was good, others would support it and the best ideas reached the top. In the top 10 were renewable energy and conservation. . ”
Based in part on this survey, city leaders set out to implement the Go2030 sustainability plan, which includes the overhaul of Fargo by revitalizing the downtown area and implementing an ambitious goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. one of the main causes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and electric vehicles can contribute to it. Developing electric vehicle infrastructure and paving the way for electric cars was identified as a key initiative by our residents in 2010, ”said Williams. “And it has been our mission to try to achieve that goal.”
Bringing EV Best Practices Home – From the Source
In 2018, Williams worked with energy consultants John Flory of eSmart Systems, an AI-based infrastructure solutions provider, and Paul Jensen of Green Ways 2Go, which helps companies develop clean transportation strategies. , to determine the extent to which it was possible to invest in electric vehicles. charge in a location where temperatures regularly average below freezing during the winter. Flory observed that Norway is the No. 1 electric vehicle per capita in the world, which is why eSmart organized a “smart innovation learning tour” in the country. “We don’t know what we don’t know, but we know what worked,” said Williams. “We always hear that you can’t have electric vehicles in cold weather, so we wanted to go to Norway.”
In 2018, he traveled to Norway with Flory and Jensen as well as Terry Sando, the mayor of Hillsboro, North Dakota, and 12 others. The first stop was a mixed-use parking ramp that had around 100 charging stations for electric vehicles. According to Flory, the trip laid the groundwork for a pilot project supported by the state of North Dakota. The project brings solar power and electric vehicle charging to the state-of-the-art, seven-story, 458-space parking lot in downtown Fargo called the Roberts Commons Garage (RoCo ramp for short). The garage is surrounded on three sides by mixed residential, commercial and dining use.
In addition to reducing emissions, we need to help people get to where they need to go cheaper and in a cleaner manner. Electric vehicles are a good way to do this, and we want to help pave the way for this transition. – Mike Williams, Parking Marshal, City of Fargo
Harness the power of the sun – and add value
Flory now works for risk management firm The Alliance Risk Group and is leading the pilot project for the state. “Initially, we had to make the 48 solar panels supply energy to certain chargers of autonomous electric vehicles. Paul Jensen convinced us to install five ChargePoint Level 2 dual-port smart charging stations on the RoCo ramp instead, ”says Flory.
Solar power not only provides energy, but it also helps the city avoid peaks in utility consumption. Three smart 15kW lithium-ion batteries store this solar energy to further reduce emissions and costs. “In Fargo, a lot of times we’re not the first to adopt,” Williams says. “We sometimes call it the ‘leapfrog effect’ because we like to sit down and see what works, maybe add some value, and then implement something that applies best to us. ”
In Fargo, we are often not the first to adopt. We sometimes call it the “leapfrog effect” because we like to sit down and see what works, maybe add some value, and then implement something that applies best to us. – Mike Williams, Parking Marshal, City of Fargo
Norway was not the only country where Williams’ team drew inspiration from. “Germany is by far the largest solar producer per capita, and we have a better solar resource than Germany – the sun shines quite a bit here – and therefore solar power is feasible,” he says. In fact, Fargo enjoys an average of 200 days of sunshine per year, compared to 158 for Germany.
“What we found in Go2030 is that our residents spend more on transportation on average – on their car, parking and everything in between – than they do on housing. It’s the opposite of this. happening in a place like San Francisco, ”Williams says. “So in addition to reducing emissions, we need to help people get where they need to go for less and in a cleaner way. Electric vehicles are a good way to do that, and we want to help open up. the way for that transition. ”With 20,000 people working in the city center and 5,000 to 6,000 others living there, there was no room for error when choosing an electrical supply partner.
I spoke to people from Minneapolis-St. Paul, and they really enjoyed working with ChargePoint and were happy with the support. It was obvious that people were familiar with ChargePoint. When someone buys an electric vehicle, they often already have a ChargePoint card. – Mike Williams, Parking Marshal, City of Fargo
ChargePoint’s sophisticated reporting features and intelligent software have been a crucial part of delivering such an ambitious plan focused on smart energy use, Williams said. The reputation and recognition of the brand were also important. “I spoke to folks in Minneapolis-St. Paul, and they really enjoyed working with ChargePoint and were happy with the support. It was obvious people knew about ChargePoint. When someone buys an electric vehicle, it often happens. that “I’ll already have a ChargePoint card.” At the time of this writing, Fargo was installing a ChargePoint DC fast charger in front of town hall. “We will have our first fast-charging station in three blocks from our 10 ports at the Roberts Commons, ”said Williams, noting that when it comes to sustainability, Fargo is just getting started.
In Part 2 of our North Dakota series, we travel to one of the state’s smallest towns, Hillsboro, to learn about ChargePoint’s impact on the community. In Part 3, head to the state capital, Bismarck, to conclude our trilogy on one of our favorite states to charge.
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ChargePoint Holdings Inc. published this content on September 21, 2021 and is solely responsible for the information it contains. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on September 21, 2021 04:11:10 PM UTC.
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