Sorry, No Gas: A Maryland Station Converts to EV Charging

can be reached at nkurczewski@yahoo.com
can be reached at nkurczewski@yahoo.com
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Times are changing, and so is your neighborhood gas station. While EV charge points are available around the country, a gas station in Takoma Park, Maryland, became the first in the U.S. to convert its entire operation to electric cars.

  • Recharging remains one of the biggest concerns for car shoppers interested in EVs.
  • The Maryland gas station is the first in the U.S. to convert entirely to a charging center.
  • More than $700,000 in grants helped spur the conversion to an electric-only business model.
  • The station’s owner says drivers of gas-powered vehicles sometimes get “upset” when they realize there are no fuel pumps to be found.

Electric cars have finally found a place to call their own, though the location might surprise you. Far from Silicon Valley and other tech-centric locales, the first gas station in the U.S. to convert entirely to electric vehicles is located in a leafy suburb just north of Washington D.C.

RS Automotive, a service station in Takoma Park, Maryland, is now totally committed to serving as an EV charge point. In this NPR story, the station’s owner, Depeswar Doley, admits business has been slower than before becoming an electric-only operation in September of this year. Doley says drivers of gas and diesel-powered cars and trucks sometimes “pull up and get upset” once they realize there are no traditional fuel pumps.

More electric vehicles on the road will mean a greater need for simpler, more reliable recharging options. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

Rather than wanting to be at the forefront of a transportation revolution, Doley’s initial goal was simply to step back from the day-to-day hassle of running a gas station. In his comments to NPR, he explains that robberies, volatile fuel prices, and other headaches had already convinced him to switch to being only a repair shop. He paid for the removal of the fuel pumps and underground fuel tanks himself.

But then a call came from city officials, asking if Doley would consider transforming his business into an electric car charging center. A grant of $786,000 was given from both state funds, along with backing from the Electric Vehicle Institute, an EV equipment supply company based in Baltimore. Not only would the station focus on everything EV via its available charge points, the store’s former minimart was converted to a food-free lounge with Wi-Fi, for people to comfortably wait as their car charges.

The price breakdown equates to a flat rate of $2.50, plus .20 cents for every minute of charge time. Doley takes 66 percent of the profit, while the Electric Vehicle Institute has claim to the remaining 33 percent. On average, most EV drivers spend 15-30 minutes at the station, which equates to about $8-$14 owed for every visit.

While Doley admits business has been slower than before, he said he’s willing to wait as electric car sales, recharging needs, and word of mouth all help grow demand for a dedicated EV station.

WHY THIS MATTERS

Many car shoppers will remain on the fence until electric cars are as easy to keep running as any gas or diesel-powered vehicle. Transforming the corner gas station is an important first step towards normalizing EV ownership.


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can be reached at nkurczewski@yahoo.com
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