In a special ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, the first public electric car charging station in Monroe County was opened for business at the Penfield Community Center.
Now, drivers of electric-powered cars like the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and a soon to be available Ford Focus Electric, will be able to charge their vehicles on-site at no cost.??
A selection of electric-powered cars were also displayed, as town officials, electric vehicle owners, and community members gathered to celebrate the event.
The project was the idea of Penfield man Bob Kanauer, an electrical engineer and member of the town's Energy and Environment Advisory Committee, who also owns his own solar energy business, LTHS Solar.
??Kanauer donated the charging station equipment and project engineering, and the town installed the fully handicap accessible enclosure in mid-April at the Baird Road community center.
"This represents some alternative means of fueling vehicles," said Penfield Town Supervisor Tony LaFountain. "Through (Kanauer's) very gracious effort, not only from an engineering standpoint but also from a financial standpoint, he's put this together for our community."
It takes approximately three hours for the Chevy Volt to become fully charged, but Kanauer said drivers will likely be using it in smaller increments to "top off" their charge the same way a gas-powered vehicle requires fueling.
The station is the first in the county, and Penfield is considering adding more at the town hall near the althletic fields near Dolomite Lodge and also in the Four Corners district.
Bill LaBine, of Avon, was among those who attended the ceremony. He is the owner of an electric-powered scooter, the Vectrix 2008, and used to own an electric-powered truck.
He hopes that adding an accessible charging station will encourage more drivers to pursue clean energy, especially with the rising price of gas.
"Americans are motivated by the price of gas to do a lot of things, like conserve," said LaBine. "How can you expect electric-powered vehicles to become more popular as gas-powered ones if there's no place to charge them?"
For him, this is a step in the right direction for consumers who are looking to save on gas, and help the environment at the same time.
"I'm hopeful we'll see an exponential growth in the number of charging stations out there."