Buchanan to install free charging stations for electric cars

By: Frank Waugh Email
By: Frank Waugh Email

Small towns located off the beaten path, or bypassed by new interstates, often struggle to get people to stop and spend time and money. One Michigan town is looking to future technology to help ensure the future of their historic downtown.

The traffic here in Downtown Buchanan looks about like just about any other town, but soon that could change.

Debra Patzer, Exec. Dir. Downtown Development Authority, describes some changes that are coming, “We are going to install it just south of our downtown business street and one station like this will service two cars.”

Two electric cars and while there may not be many in the area, they are hoping that their location will help draw them in.

Patzer explains how Buchanan is in a good location, “Buchanan is very fortunate to sit just north of US 12 which is a major east west corridor in the state of Michigan and I-94 isn't very far away.”

Soon Buchanan will start showing up on websites like carstations.com, a website that locates electric charging stations all over the world. There is also another bonus to this installation.

Donna Southwell, Buchanan Special Projects Manager, explains the plans behind putting in the free charging stations, “Right now we want to offer this as a service so there is no charge. One of the things this is going to do is let people know where Buchanan is so you can come and charge your car and it will be free.”

You heard right, the electricity will be free and for good reason.

Patzer explains further why they decided to put in the stations,”We thought it would be a great way to get people downtown to get into our business district because we are listed on the national register of historic places in 2009 we have been working really hard to fill up our empty spaces and to bring businesses to town so we thought it would be a perfect marriage of technology with history if you will and business.”

The plan is to install the charging station in the Buchanan Common, just a half block from downtown where you will find businesses like the Union Coffee House

Molly Thornton, Owner Union Coffee House, explains that they customers they are trying to attract are just the ones the city wants, “They attract a certain buyer and that is the same sort of customer and tourist that we are looking to attract to Downtown Buchanan to show them what we have to offer.”

Patzer describes the many different business that Buchanan has to offer, “We have great businesses in our downtown, we have restaurants, coffee houses, retail shopping, we even have a day spa.”

Great businesses that hope to see new faces, thanks to the new technology and drivers that are looking for a bargain.

Thornton explains what they think the new technology will help the city, “I think more people coming from other areas to Downtown Buchanan is only going to boost our word of mouth advertising, the more people that see what we have to offer the more they will go out there and tell people, tell their friends, tell their family.”

The charging station was provided free of charge to the city through a grant from Charge Point America.

The city must cover the installation, which is expected to be around $300 to $500.

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