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Waterloo City Council approves MidAmerican car chargers to reduce range anxiety

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) - Paying at the plug, Waterloo City Council approves easement and host site agreement with MidAmerican Energy.

The two resolutions passed through council unanimously. MidAmerican Energy introduced a charging network across Iowa to reduce range anxiety for drivers.

Range anxiety is where people who drive an electric car worry if they will run out of charge before the destination or nearest charging station. Waterloo will operates as one of 14 cities in Iowa, and there will be two charging stations.

MidAmerican Media Relations Geoff Greenwood says the fast chargers being installed will allow an 80% charge in 40 minutes for most electric cars. Greenwood says "the City of Waterloo decides the going rate." This rate will come after a three year oversight by MidAmerican Energy, and Waterloo will then take the reins.

Waterloo Planning and Zoning one of the main vessels behind the implantation of the charging stations says it will be $1.50 an hour for drivers to park and charge.

The public in the council meeting spoke up during the meeting on their concerns for an increase of electrical car fires. Waterloo Fire Chief Pat Treloar says the department is well aware of this possibility.

"We continue to look for opportunities especially with more Tesla's in our community," says Chief Treloar. "We're pretty aware of the standards of them, and they do pose a few more difficulties, but we're comfortable with them."

Each charging station is roughly 50 miles from one another making a charging network across Iowa. Greenwood says the overall project bodes well for Iowa.

"We hope to address range anxiety, jump-start the electric vehicle industry," says Greenwood. "We think this is good for our customers, for communities, for travelers coming through and, of course, the environment."

Drivers will be seeing the charging station pretty quick, MidAmerican energy says the construction on the stations will be mostly finished before Christmas of 2019.

MidAmerican Energy isn't stopping with the charging stations, within the next year they plan to install Ultra Fast Chargers in more traveled areas. These specific chargers cut in half the normal charge time.

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Vinny Lowerre

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