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KCP&L Plans City-Wide Electric Vehicle Charging Network

Alex Smith

The Kansas City area may soon be home to a network of 1,000 electric vehicle charging stations capable of serving 10,000 electric cars and trucks.

Kansas City Power and Light Co. announced Monday plans to create the Clean Charge Network in partnership with Nissan and ChargePoint, a charging station manufacturer.

“Our Clean Change Network eliminates ‘range anxiety’ in the region, which is the number one roadblock to greater vehicle adoption. Now electric vehicle owners will have an answer to the question, ‘Where do I recharge my vehicle,’” said Terry Bassham, president and CEO of KCP&L and Great Plains Energy Inc., which owns the Kansas City-based utility.

KCP&L estimates that Kansas City drivers currently own about 2,300 electric vehicles, but company representatives say they’re hopeful the large-scale network will encourage more drivers to consider them. The company is offering free charging for the first two years.

“We don’t want to make a system that’s sized to right now. We want to make a system that’s sized well into the future and can be built upon,” said Chuck Caisley, a spokesman for KCP&L and Great Plains Energy.

KCP&L says more electric cars will reduce carbon emissions and help the city attain regional ozone standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Clean Charge Network will cost $20 million, paid for through revenue from rate increases and partner company donations. KCP&L declined to disclose the partners’ contributions.

In October 2014, KCP&L requested a 15.8 percent rate increase for about half its Missouri customers.

A spokeswoman said a large chunk of the revenue will fund environment upgrades at the utility’s coal-fired plant in La Cygne, Kan.

Less than 1 percent of the new rate increase revenue will be used to fund the electric charging network, she said, or about $1 to $2 per Kansas City residential customer.

KCP&L plans to install charging stations as far north as St. Joseph, Mo., and as far south as Stillwell, Kan. Missouri satellite stations would also be placed in Clinton, Warrensburg and Whiteman Air Force Base near Knob Noster.

The first stations were installed in late 2014. The project is slated for completion this summer.

As a health care reporter, I aim to empower my audience to take steps to improve health care and make informed decisions as consumers and voters. I tell human stories augmented with research and data to explain how our health care system works and sometimes fails us. Email me at alexs@kcur.org.
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