OLATHE, Kan. — Some Olathe drivers will soon be able to “fuel up” their cars using the power of the sun. Olathe will be the first city in Kansas to launch solar powered electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.
Zach Hardy, the city’s field operations manager, said it purchased the solar charging stations with financial assistance from a federal grant secured by the Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC).
“With some grant funding from the Department of Energy we were able to install six solar EV charging stations. The first of their kind in Kansas,” Hardy said.
The federal grant will cover the cost of six new solar EV charging stations across the city. Hardy said the grant covered approximately 45% of the $450,000 project.
City crews have installed solar EV charging stations at the Indian Creek Library, the Olathe Community Center and at Lake Olathe Park.
Each solar station can charge two electric vehicles at a time. The solar stations will provide free EV charging for residents and city fleet vehicles.
“If an electric vehicle owner has charged at any other site it will be just like charging here, same process, same method,” Hardy said.
The grant also allows the city to purchase six more electric vehicles to add to Olathe’s “Clean Fleet.” Hardy said the city’s current Clean Fleet includes five Nissan LEAFs. The grant will allow city staff to purchase six Chevrolet Bolts.
“It is a small portion of our fleet, but we hope to grow that over time,” Hardy said.
Hardy said the stations should be ready for public use by the weekend. EV users can find local charging stations using the ChargePoint app or the ChargePoint website.
“All of our charging sites throughout the city of Olathe are free for electric vehicle users to use,” Hardy said.