Maryland is no stranger to firsts in America. The first American railroad started in Maryland, as did the first licensed television station. Now, you can add the first petroleum fuel station to change entirely to an electric vehicle charging station to that list. RS Automotive of Takoma Park, a suburb of Washington, D.C., opened as a local gas station in 1958.
Depeswar Doley, owner of the station since 1997, said he was already unhappy with the way oil and gasoline companies structure contracts. They can limit the use of multiple suppliers, includ clauses that extend contracts when a certain volume of sales is not met, and limit maintenance support. These business factors were pushing him to consider other options.
A public works manager for the city of Takoma Park, Maryland, first suggested to Doley a conversation with the Electric Vehicle Institute (EVI). With help from the institute and the Maryland Energy Administration, Doley secured a $ 786,000 grant to convert the station. There are more than 20,700 registered EVs in Maryland, and the area also has an electric taxi service in need of more chargers for their business.
Matthew Wade, EVI CEO, said the area has had issues with the supply of charging stations not meeting the demand of EVs. Takoma Park had just two chargers, one in a community center parking lot and the other at a street location.
“They were fully utilized throughout the day; people were lining up,” Wade said. “The city was happy they were being used, but then they said, ‘Wait, no one can get in this parking lot, because these taxis are using these chargers.” Wade says the gas station layout, which is designed for traffic flow, will help alleviate that problem.
The station will feature four dispensers that connect to a high-powered, 200-kilowatt system. The system will allow four vehicles to charge simultaneously and reach 80% battery charge in 20 to 30 minutes. Drivers can go inside and sit in an automated convenience store with screens that allow drivers to track their vehicle’s charging progress.
Doley stated: “You notice there are not too many electric vehicles on the road,” he said. “So it’s not something that I expect to become rich overnight or something like that, but it’s a good cause [and] good for the environment.”