PENDLETON — Pendleton has long been a pit stop for drivers looking to refuel, and it could soon be a destination for them recharge.
The city is in the process of securing a $68,995 grant from Pacific Power to install a four-car electric charging station near Heritage Station Museum at 108 S.W. Frazer Ave.
The driving force behind the grant was Jordan McDonald, a Pendleton resident who served on the city’s library committee and development commission advisory committee.
Although he personally owns an electric vehicle, McDonald said he usually charges his car at home and he was more motivated by the charging station’s potential with travelers.
The charging station will include two “quick charge” ports that can charge a vehicle in about 30 minutes. But some models don’t have quick charge capabilities, and they can use the station’s other ports, which will charge a car in four to six hours.
McDonald said it will cost about $10 for a full charge, but the price could depend on the individual vehicle’s charging capacity.
McDonald said the new charging station will fill a gap for Interstate 84 electric vehicle drivers. For most of them, there isn’t a charging station between the Space Age gas station near Hermiston and La Grande.
McDonald noted that there is a Tesla charging station at the Wildhorse Resort and Casino on the Umatilla Indian Reservation, but it doesn’t serve any vehicles that aren’t manufactured by Tesla.
“Tesla’s market share is big, but it’s not that big,” McDonald said.
The Pendleton charging station will be an open access station that will be able to charge most vehicles made in the past 10 years.
McDonald, who is the husband of Pendleton City Councilor McKennon McDonald, said the goal is to have the revenue generated by charging fees cover the cost of the charging station’s operation, with the hope that increased usage will eventually lead to a profit for the city.
Since the grant works on a reimbursement basis, the Pendleton City Council will have to approve the expense.
Public Works Director Bob Patterson said the council should consider it at its Tuesday meeting.
Once the project clears some of the regulatory hurdles, McDonald expects it to move quickly.
His optimistic projection for the charging station’s completion date is November.