At the Times House Bed and Breakfast on Race Street in Jim Thorpe, guests will find a luxurious room, stellar breakfast and tranquil place to recharge after a long day of sightseeing, rafting on the Lehigh River or biking through the wooded trails.
It’s also a place where you can recharge your electric vehicle.
“It’s part marketing and part green initiative for us and since Jim Thorpe is an outdoor town, we thought we would appeal to those folks,” said Chris Prokop, who has co-owned the bed and breakfast along with his wife Diane for 13 years.
He said the first EV charging station was a grant promotion by electric car maker Tesla to expand their footprint. The company was selling vehicles and was trying grow their infrastructure giving people a place to charge their Tesla vehicles. A second was recently installed, which allows people charge any type of electric vehicle.
“We were the first public charging stations in Carbon County when it was first installed,” he said. Guests are given preferred use of the chargers.
The bed and breakfast, which once served as the headquarters to the Times-News newspaper, sits in a town where coal was once king.
“Electric vehicles have become a mainstream concept,” he said. “More and more people have asked about the chargers and because more and more people are driving electric vehicles.”
As part of federal infrastructure legislation, the Biden administration is pushing to accelerate deployment of electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging stations across the country. In March, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuel Data Center found the U.S. surpassed 100,000 charging stations, but the multitrillion spending plan soon to be put before Congress calls
for many more.
Industry experts argue while most electric vehicles will charge at home or at the office, what lacks is an infrastructure plan when people take longer trips. As part of the America Jobs Plan, the Biden administration is pushing for 500,000 charging stations across the country. Those charging stations would go on public streets, at apartment complexes and inside public and private parking garages
That includes Scranton.
The National Development Council, which operates Scranton’s parking system installed four electric charging stations in the city’s four parking garages. The charging stations are being paid for through the ‘Driving PA Forward’ grant program. More than $2.6 million is being made available statewide due the settlement with the carmaker over emissions cheating. The goal of the grant program is help Pennsylvania meet its emissions goals, according to the Wolf administration.
“Each charging station has the ability to charge two vehicles, so we have eight dedicated charging stations right now,” said Dave Trevisani with the NDC
The chargers take between four and five hours to fully charge the car with a 100-mile battery range, according to Trevisani. Each charging station cost about $6,250 each. Installation costs about as much as the unit itself.
“It’s really to make Scranton a destination,” said Todd Johns, executive director of the Scranton Parking Authority. “If you’re on your way to Boston or Washington, D.C., it makes Scranton a place you’d want to stop to charge your vehicle. We have a nice downtown and a lot of businesses that could benefit. While people charge their car, they can shop downtown or have something to eat.”
Drivers can find the location of an EV charging station through the federal government website or through an app on their smart phone.
In 2019, as part of the ‘Driving PA Forward’ grant, two electric vehicle charging stations were installed in Stroudsburg.
Private industry is also looking to expand its EV charging station
Benco Dental installed two electric vehicle charging stations in 2016 at their corporate offices in Pittston. Two more will be installed this year.
“At Benco, we continuously seek out new opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of our facilities. We saw increasing support for electric cars and aligned our infrastructure in 2016 to accommodate the needs of our associates and customers,” said John Muscovitch, national facilities and fleet manager for Benco Dental.
Benco Dental is the nation’s largest independent dental distributor.
“A decade ago, we proudly built our home office in Pennsylvania to be a LEED Silver Certified building, using recycled materials and environmentally-friendly lighting and plumbing. Since then, we led the market by transitioning our field service fleet to smaller, more efficient vans,” said Chuck Cohen, managing director for Benco Dental. “Over the next few months, we will begin advocating for a national investment in an improved e-vehicle charging network. As part of our continued efforts to reduce Benco’s environmental impact, we will initiate a transition among associates, incenting our representatives in the field to drive e-vehicles, which have a lower carbon impact.”