A Maryland gas station became the first EV charging station in the US that converted from selling oil - here's how it's doing
- RS Automotives, a gas station in Takoma Park, Maryland, has switched its petroleum pumps out for electric vehicle chargers.
- The station received a grant of $786,000 from the Electric Vehicle Institute and the Maryland Energy Administration, CNBC reported.
- An 80% charge, which will take 20 to 30 minutes, will cost about $5.10, the Washington Post reported.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
A gas station in Maryland has become the first in the US to switch its petroleum pumps out for electric vehicle chargers.
RS Automotives, a gas station in Takoma Park, Maryland, decided to make the switch after its owner Depeswar Doley decided he was unhappy with oil and gas contracts, CNBC reported.
The gas station received a grant of $786,000 from the Maryland Energy Administration and the Electric Vehicle Institute for the project.
"Maryland is proud to be a national leader when it comes to clean and renewable energy, climate change, and the promotion of electric infrastructure and vehicles," said Governor Larry Hogan in a statement. "This fully-converted, gas-to-electric charging station is a prime example of our administration's commitment to the environment and transportation."
There are over 20,700 registered electric vehicles in Maryland, as well as a local electric taxi service. However, prior to the opening of this new station in September 2019, there were only two public electric vehicle chargers in the area. Now, almost four months later, Doley states that he is "happy" and that "business is okay."
"We're a few years ahead of the curve, so we didn't expect it to open and and [say] 'wow we're making tons of money.'" Doley told Business Insider. "It's a slow process, but we are happy with the numbers and we see somebody coming in and using the charger [everyday]."
Doley now receives calls from people around the country inquiring how to go about opening their own electric vehicle charging station.
"I am a business owner able to share my thoughts and ideas [about] how to open up an electric [charging station]," Doley said. "It's encouraging many people."
About four to five EV drivers stop by to charge at the station on a daily basis, which is in line with its original goal of achieving daily use, CEO of Electric Vehicle Institute Matthew Wade told Business Insider.
"It's a very unique project and we weren't quite sure what usage was going to look like [and] how it was going to operate," Wade said. "There were a lot of unknowns. [But] based upon the numbers we've been looking at, there's this kind of excitement that it's working.
Take a look at the construction process and the "refuelling" station now:
The station officially opened on September 26.
"Our state's energy programs are strategically advancing toward 100% clean electricity, which benefits all Marylanders and the environment," Maryland Energy Department director Mary Beth Tung said in a prepared statement.
Wade believes that EV charging stations — as opposed to gas stations — are a more profitable business for independent gas station owners because of the lack of variability in electricity pricing.
The station has four charging dispensers that are connected to a 200-kilowatt system, CNBC reported. This allows the cars to reach an 80% charge in 20 to 30 minutes.
An 80% charge will cost about $5.10, the Washington Post reported.
The gas station is accompanied by an automated convenience store with complimentary coffee, water, and restrooms. It plans to use solar panels for energy.
There are also couches, chairs, televisions, and a screen displaying the charging progress for each dispenser.
"I was just talking to my wife about this stuff happening in Australia [and] you feel so helpless," Wade said. "Working on things like this, from a business perspective is fulfilling, but from the purpose of why we do it, it's better than the cup of coffee ... it gets me up and going to be able to do something."
The new filling stations are nine feet tall with LED lights, touch-screens and credit card slots, not unlike that of a typical gas pump.
Doley, pictured below, has owned the station since 1997, although RS Automotives has been around since 1958.
When he met with the Electric Vehicle Institute, they discussed adding a single charging point but decided to convert the entire station because he was losing money selling gas, according to the Fast Company.
"That part of his business just wasn't working, and he wasn't happy with it," Wade told Fast Company.
"And we said, well, we have this great idea. What do you think about converting it to an all-electric charging station?" Wade continued.
Doley was also reportedly disgruntled with oil and gasoline contract structuring. This included limited use of multiple suppliers and maintenance support, and the inability to extend contracts if the minimum amount of sales weren't met, CNBC reported.
“My daughter, who is 17, she is the one who convinced me after I told her that I was going to talk to the [Electric Vehicle Institute] guys,” Doley told CNBC.
When Doley told his daughter Teresa about the potential idea to switch from fossil fuel to EV-charging, she reportedly responded by saying, “Dad, that’s a real good suggestion.”
The construction process included removing the underground storage tanks that held petroleum.
They also installed power lines to support the new high-power charging stations.
The station will no longer have the iconic electronic or flip sign that displays the fuel prices-per-grade.
RS Automotive's new chargers are a part of a network of over 600 charging stations in Maryland, according to the Maryland Energy Administration. The state has a goal of having 60,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2020, and 300,000 by 2025.
"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," Doley told CNBC.
Wade hopes this charging station will inspire people to purchase their own electric vehicle and encourage station owners to "take the plunge" and incorporate at least one EV charging station at their location.
“Electric vehicle (EV) charging will be a gold rush, while gas stations will be just another relic of a bygone age, like phone booths and cassette tapes,” columnist Vitaliy Katsenelson wrote in a piece for MarketWatch.
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