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New Fort Collins DC Quick Charger Not For Every Plug-In

Grace Hood

The newest electric vehicle charger located at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is cutting edge technology, maybe too cutting edge.

Monday’s unveiling of the DC quick charger station was the highlight of an event for the new Drive Electric Northern Colorado initiative. The only such charger in the state, it will charge an electric vehicle to 80 percent in 30 minutes or less when hooked into the city’s grid.

There’s a catch though.

Tom Vosburg, policy and project manager for the City of Fort Collins, says very few electric plug-in vehicles on the road in Colorado can actually use the new station.

“And actually the only cars available at this time that support DC fast charging are the Japanese cars.”

The issue lies with the type of battery certain plug-in vehicles have as well as the adapter used to charge them. Currently the most prevalent car that can use the new DC fast charge station isNissan’s Leaf. Other popular electric cars like the Chevrolet Volt and Ford C-MaxEnergi are not compatible.  Vosburg says settling on a standard fast charging system is like the battle between Betamax and VHS.

“There’s a lot of organizations holding off in investment in DC fast charging to see where that all shakes out. In our situation, Nissan was generous to donate that to the city's utilities in order to help support the Drive Electric Northern Colorado initiative.”

The city plans [.pdf] to install four to six electric chargers in places like the downtown civic center parking structure as well as the South College Avenue Corridor. Vosburg says they’ll be standard chargers that will support all electric vehicles. Unlike the DC quick charger, those take longer to provide a full charge.

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