Alexandria Debuts New Public Electric Vehicle Charging Hub

Alexandria, Minnesota — The Simonson Station Store in Alexandria, Minnesota unveiled its new public electric vehicle charging hub during a virtual showcase on July 22nd, project partners announced. 

All project partners welcome travelers who need to charge their vehicle while stopping to eat, shop or visiting Alexandria for an extended stay. Property owner Arch Simonson said, “Our Station Store is excited to be part of this project. We think our location is a perfect fit for travelers on I-94/MN-29. Even locally it is an easy location to get to. And with the restaurants and hotel right there, what could be better?

The ZEF Energy charging hub allows for as many as three electric vehicles to charge at the same time. The station includes one direct current fast charger and two Level II chargers. The 50-KiloWatt charger provides 200 miles of battery range for every hour the vehicle is plugged in, while the two Level II chargers at the hub provide 25 miles of battery range for every hour the vehicle is plugged in.

“To find a location near the intersection of I-94 and MN-29 to host this station was not easy but worked out perfectly,” ZEF Energy CEO Matthew Blackler said. “It is my hope that others can see this endeavor and be inspired to also become an electric vehicle driver destination.”
The electric vehicle charging hub is not the first of its kind in the City of Alexandria but plays an important step as it continues to fill gaps in Western Minnesota. The EV charging station was made possible in part through funding from ALP Utilities, Gas Technology Institute (GTI), Great River Energy (GRE), Missouri River Energy Services (MRES), Runestone Electric Association (REA), and the Michigan to Montana I-94 Clean Fuel Corridor project (M2M).

The M2M project, spearheaded by GTI – a leading research, development, and training organization addressing global energy and environmental challenges – is funded through a $4.9 million U.S. Department of Energy Grant awarded in December 2016. It is being facilitated in
partnership with Clean Cities coalitions, including North Dakota Clean Cities and Twin Cities Clean Cities Coalition, to build alternative fuel infrastructure along the Interstate 94 corridor.

“We applaud all of the project partners for their work in bringing the electric vehicle charging hub to Alexandria,” Twin Cities Clean Cities Coalition Coordinator Lisa Thurstin said. “This station is filling a gap in the I-94 corridor for electric vehicle charging in western Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. Adding options for electric vehicle charging along the I-94 corridor helps improve air quality, boosts economic development, reduces our nation’s dependence on imported oil and supports local jobs.”

GTI Director of Transportation Ted Barnes said the U.S. Department of Energy’s support of this project and others along Interstate 94, “confirms the critical role alternative fuel corridors play in our nation’s transportation network. Thank you to the U.S. Department of Energy and all of the project partners for making this new station possible.”

“The local completion of this EV Charging station really came down to finding the right location with easy access to 1-94 corridor traffic and that was identified as The Simonson Station Store. Arch Simonson had a willingness to be the first and was as equally ready and excited about the opportunity as we were, said Scott Deitz, ALP Operations Manager.” Working together with all of the partners on this project showed collaboration that benefits our community and that is part of ALP’s mission.” Joni Livingston, Vice President of Member Services and Communications commented, “Missouri River Energy Services is happy to partner with our member ALP Utilities to make this DC fast charger part of the charging infrastructure that will support EV adoption. Electric vehicles are a smart transportation choice. They have no tailpipe emissions and cost less to operate than gas powered cars.”

Ryan Rooney, Runestone Electric Association’s Manager of Energy Services said, “This EV charging station is a key piece of a growing charging network being rapidly developed across the state. Projects like this take the collaboration of many parties as demonstrated here. We’re thrilled to be a partner along with our power supplier, Great River Energy, who is facilitating electrification of the transportation sector with all of their 28 electric cooperative members in Minnesota. “

The U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities coalitions are nonprofit organizations designed to reduce petroleum consumption in the transportation sector by advancing the use of alternative fuels and vehicles, idle reduction technologies, hybrid electric vehicles, fuel blends and fuel economy.
Acknowledgment: This material is based upon work supported by the Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), under Award Number DE-EE0007996