Electric vehicle chargers coming to Grosse Pointe City

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published January 16, 2021

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GROSSE POINTE CITY — Electric vehicles may not yet be common — especially for personal use — but they are expected to occupy a larger segment of the automotive market in the years to come.

Recognizing this, Grosse Pointe City leaders are excited that they will be able to offer electric vehicle chargers for use by residents and visitors. During a meeting by Zoom Nov. 16, the Grosse Pointe City Council voted unanimously in favor of a 10-year agreement with Detroit-based Hage Automotive and its Red E Charging division to install pedestals with ports to charge electric vehicles at four parking spaces in Lot 4 in the Village. This is the municipal parking lot behind CVS and other businesses.

The chargers will be installed and maintained at no cost to the City, City Manager Pete Dame said. And, because Hage Automotive will be using public parking spaces, the City will receive a portion of charging fees borne by customers — 3 cents per kilowatt hour charged to the driver using the station.

“To my knowledge, these would be the first EV chargers in any of the Grosse Pointes,” Dame told the council.

Abass El-Hage, the founder and CEO of Hage Automotive, said they would be charging customers 35 cents per kilowatt hour, which he said is “a lot cheaper than the national average” of around 57 cents per kilowatt hour.

The chargers they’re installing in the City aren’t the high-speed version, but El-Hage said they did look at both the high-speed and lower-speed chargers for the City.

“We thought the Level 2 was a better entry point to see the usage,” El-Hage told the council. He said electric vehicles have an average battery life of 100 to 300 miles per full charge, and the assumption was that most users in the City would be driving close to home as opposed to traveling long distances.

City Councilwoman Maureen Juip asked whether the vendor had plans to upgrade their equipment over the 10-year agreement “because this technology is rapidly evolving.”

El-Hage responded, “Yes, for sure,” adding that this was their intent all along.

“This is a vendor that specializes in working with municipalities,” Dame said of Hage Automotive.

Dame said he approached GM’s preferred electric vehicle charging partner, but they declined doing anything in the City because their focus is on the high-speed chargers more commonly found alongside freeways. Chargers for smaller municipalities are “kind of a niche service,” Dame said.

City Councilman Terence Thomas said this would be a “good service” to offer residents and pointed out the reason the City was signing an agreement with Hage Automotive and not one of the larger providers.

“I think it’s important for folks to understand, sometimes you have to dance with the folks who want to dance with you,” Thomas said.