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First public EV charging station placed in downtown Warren

WARREN — The first electric vehicle battery charging station on public property in Trumbull or Mahoning counties is in downtown Warren.

Electrical workers with Gintner Electrical Services on Monday were putting the finishing touches on the station on the second level of the Franklin Street parking deck. It still needs protective barriers installed, but the city’s mayor expects it to be functional by next week.

The device is the result of a partnership between Brite Energy Innovators, the downtown energy company incubator; Warren Redevelopment and Planning, which manages the parking deck; the city of Warren; and Ohio Edison, which donated the device.

Brite CEO and President Rick Stockburger approached Warren Mayor Doug Franklin and WRAP Director Anthony Iannucci with the idea sometime during the summer.

“We were looking for a location that would be convenient and simply felt that installing it in the deck would be a good place for people to come and charge their vehicle and visit our restaurants and shops in downtown Warren,” Iannucci said.

It falls in line with Stockburger’s redefined idea of Brite, which in addition to helping energy companies innovate and grow, is to make the center more inclusive of the downtown and help it flourish.

It’s also part of the local charge to be on the front end of developing technology and manufacturing of electric vehicles in the Mahoning Valley.

“It’s clearly meant to be sensitive to what we hope is a changing economy in this area … it would really be nice to be on the forefront of an industry instead of the back end,” Iannucci said. “Brite Energy and everything that is happening with electric vehicles really can be a positive for this area.”

Stockburger said, “We have an opportunity to be at the front end of building the future of transportation in the Valley. With the first EV charging station on public property in the Mahoning Valley, the city is showing its willingness not only to lead in creating, but also adopting, electric vehicles.”

The movement includes Hyperion Motors and its CEO, Warren G. Harding High School graduate Angelo Kafantaris, locating its automotive division in the Mahoning Valley.

The California-based energy storage, creation and propulsion company has already signed with Brite to start the process of locating here.

In addition, General Motors has proposed an EV battery cell manufacturing plant in or near Lordstown and Lordstown Motors Corp., a startup tech company, wants to buy GM’s idled assembly plant in Lordstown for an electric-battery pickup truck production line.

The station will be paired to an app for electric vehicle owners that provides locations of charging stations. Users can either pay through the app, Iannucci said, or much like a traditional fuel station, swipe a card for payment.

Chris Eck, spokesman for Ohio Edison, said the devices typically come with the card swipe form of payment.

“We hope there is so much usage we have to look at putting another in,” Franklin said. “This fits neatly into the mission and some of the r and d (research and development) that is going on at Brite with fuel cell development and battery storage research.”

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, who was highly influential in developing the incubator, said the move is a signal Brite and the area are positioning to be part of the electric vehicle future.

“We can’t chase smokestacks. We have to find the next best things, and we have to get out in front of them,” said Ryan.

rselak@tribtoday.com

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