Earlier this week, the City of Marietta celebrated the addition of an Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station behind the Armory building, thanks to a partnership with Pickering Energy Solutions. Donated by owner Dr. Charles “Chip” Pickering, the station will allow two electric vehicles to charge at a time.

“I have had a long-standing offer to donate car chargers in the valley,” said Pickering. “It has taken time for people to come around to appreciating it, but we have been discussing the options on and off for years. When we talked about good locations and simple connection to buildings for the City of Marietta, this location became an obvious choice.”

The Armory, located on the 200 Block of Front Street, is in close proximity to much of Marietta’s downtown shopping and dining, as well as the bike trail, pedestrian bridge, and riverfront. Visitors can also access restrooms and information kiosks inside of the building, making it a great first stop for out of town guests.

The City of Marietta sees the EV Charging Station as a way to bring more people into Downtown Marietta. “We see it as a way into the future to attract people who are driving electric vehicles,” said Joe Tucker, City Engineer. “Currently there are 3 million electric vehicles on the road, and it projected that there will be more than 125 million vehicles by 2030.”

Marietta’s new EV Station is published on PlugShare, a free EV “chargefinder” app that allows users to find charging stations, leave reviews, and connect with other plug-in vehicle owners. PlugShare has the most accurate and complete public charging map with 231,592 locations worldwide. Home to the largest community of EV drivers in the world, PlugShare connects the station with drivers that might need to charge their vehicle will visiting or passing through the Mid-Ohio Valley.

“As our world and our area become increasingly aware of global climate change and the challenges that it posts, strategies such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, alternative transportation and eating habits can help us make small changes that begin to make improvements,” said Pickering. “Unless people can see these new strategies implemented locally they all seem to be distant and important to others. When they see us installing solar panels and EV charging stations locally they know that these strategies are real, important and reachable.”As of 2018, there are more than 9,000 electric vehicles being driven in the state of Ohio. While this number is small compared to states like California, who is on track to exceed their goal of having 1.5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2025, Ohio has not yet developed strong incentives for the adoption of EVs. In April of this year, however, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio approved a settlement between American Electric Power (AEP), stakeholders, and the Commission which includes an electric vehicle program that will promote EV charging market development. Other parts of the state are also making larger investments into smarter transportation. Two years ago, Columbus beat out several other cities to win the Department of Transportation Smart City Challenge grant that will pump $40 million in progressive transportation and next generation mobility.

“Now, people that are traveling will have the option to come to downtown Marietta and charge their EVs,” said Pickering. “It will attract people to our community that are forward-thinking and using this new technology.” The hope shared by the City of Marietta is that drivers will then spend time exploring the city, spending money in shops and restaurants while their vehicle charges. For a vehicle like the Chevy Volt, a full charge would be under four hours.

Pickering plans to install several more charging stations throughout the valley and is looking forward to making charging even more accessible to local and visiting EV drivers. This installation follows the addition of a rooftop solar array system on the Municipal Court Building this April, another donation by Pickering Energy Solutions. Both projects are terrific examples of how private-public partnerships benefit our communities.

“Nothing great ever happens without a team effort,” Pickering said. “I would like to thank and recognize my team at Pickering Energy Solutions (Nick Arnold and Keri Dunn) for helping with the development and implementation of this project. Thanks to the Engineering Department, Public Service Director, City Council, Mayor, and Electricians for the City of Marietta who designed, developed and implemented this project. To see the electricians so interested in the connection and follow-up on the project makes me proud. Thanks, also, to the Marietta Community Foundation for their support.”