Cleveland Department of Public Utilities Fleet is Going Electric (a Little Bit), Charging Stations on Deck

Council greenlights $1.4 million for 31 stations at nine DPU locations.

click to enlarge Public Utilities Director (and former councilman) Marty Keane, reviewing some numbers - Cleveland City Council YouTube
Cleveland City Council YouTube
Public Utilities Director (and former councilman) Marty Keane, reviewing some numbers

Cleveland City Council's Public Utilities Committee approved Tuesday morning legislation that will pay for the installation of 31 electric vehicle charging stations at nine locations across Northeast Ohio.

The charging stations will not be for public use, but for vehicles within the Department of Public Utility's forthcoming fleet. DPU Director Martin Keane told council Tuesday that the city currently had 24 electric vehicles on order, (mostly SUVs and a couple of pickup trucks, it sounded like), and that the charging infrastructure will ensure that these vehicles can be charged on a regular schedule once they arrive.

The estimated $1.4 million price tag anticipates an average installation cost of roughly $45,000 per station. Some council members balked at the expense, including Mike Polensek, who doubted the savings of environmentally friendly vehicles more broadly.

"I just shake my head at this constantly," he remarked. "Everybody wants to go green, but I want to go lean."

Keane advised that Cleveland's aging infrastructure generally meant that preliminary engineering costs were high. At many of the facilities (listed in full below), new power lines will have to be installed. But he also said that relative to the annual cost of gasoline, the EV charging stations would pay dividends before long and that the infrastructure would allow for more charging stations in the future.

"The return on investment is there," he said.

For now, the EV fleet is nonexistent. Keane said there are seven "hybrid" vehicles in the fleet, and that the 24 EVs on order will make up only a small percentage of DPU's total fleet, which numbers well into the hundreds. DPU ordered the vehicles last fall and still don't have a "true delivery date," Keane said.  But he said that "from the mayor down," the directive for his office has been to transition the fleet toward EVs and to find other ways to reduce the city's carbon footprint. 

Per the legislation, the construction could take as long as two years to complete, but the preliminary design work has already been completed.

Here are the Cleveland Water Department and Cleveland Public Power facilities where the charging stations will be installed:
  • DPU 1201 Lakeside
  • CWD Nottingham
  • CWD Parma
  • CWD Harvard Yards
  • CWD Garrett Morgan
  • CWD Crown
  • CPP North Marginal
  • CPP St. Clair
  • CPP 1300 Lakeside
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About The Author

Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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