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Kirkwood installs first-of-its-kind vehicle charging station

CEDAR RAPIDS– Electric vehicles in eastern Iowa now have a place to get re-charged. The Hotel at Kirkwood Center, with funds from the city of Cedar Rapids, installed a level two electric vehicle charging station in one of its parking stalls.
Hotels around the country are just beginning to install charging stations for their guests and the public who own the vehicles.
The charging station will be available to more than just guests. Anyone who owns an electric vehicle will be able to rent the parking stall with the charging station to power-up his or her vehicle. It’s expected that the number of electric vehicles on the roads in eastern Iowa will increase, as they’re now being sold in the Cedar Rapids area.
Brownfield hopes the charging station at the hotel will help in educating the public about the new technology. The automotive technology program owns four hybrid vehicles for training students on the technology. Brownfield is now developing curriculum for diagnosing and repairing hybrid and electric vehicles, and wants to offer classes to the community to teach about the technology and safety of the vehicles.
The charge station is just the second level-two station for public use in eastern Iowa. The college has one currently for charging its training vehicles. Level-two chargers take four hours to completely charge a dead battery, versus the level-one chargers that take more than 10 hours.
The station, which is connected to The Hotel’s power grid, uses cellular phone technology to send text messages to the consumer to update the status of the charge. Smart phone applications show consumers whether or not the station is available, and can also update the charging status. People can also call to rent the parking space that uses the charging station. More information on the smartphone application can be found at www.chargepoint.net/mobile-apps.php.
The City of Cedar Rapids delegated $12,000 of Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program dollars to the project, with Kirkwood covering the additional $2,500.
For more information on The Hotel at Kirkwood Center and its green initiatives, visit http://www.thehotelatkirkwood.com/. For information on Kirkwood’s Automotive Technology program, visit www.kirkwood.edu/industrialtech.