Electric Car Days set for Groton, Norwich

The public will have a chance to learn about electric cars and locations of battery charging equipment during events around the state Friday and Saturday.

Locally, events will take place Friday in Groton and Saturday in Norwich.

"Electric cars are not a perfect fit for everyone, but they can be a very beneficial alternative for the environment and fuel-saving reasons," said Donna Powell, communications consultant for Northeast Utilities, one of the members of the Regional Vehicle Initiative sponsoring the event.

The Groton event, sponsored by Pfizer Inc. and Groton Utilities, is for Pfizer employees only. It will showcase three electric car charging stations the company has installed, and models of electric cars and charging equipment from local dealers will be on display, Powell said.

Norwich events will be held in conjunction with the city's River Fest celebration. Earlier this month, Norwich Utilities opened the region's first publicly accessible electric-vehicle charging stations. Members of the public can use the charging stations by opening an account and obtaining a card for access and billing.

Powell said the number of electric cars in the state is "in the hundreds" but is expected to grow "into the thousands" over the next year as more models of cars become available and more charging stations are installed. Typically, she said, electric-vehicle owners mainly charge their cars at home but use remote charging stations to supplement. Electric car models available include the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf.

Costs for the electricity to recharge a vehicle is estimated at one-third of gasoline costs, she said.

It can take anywhere from three to 14 hours to fully recharge a vehicle, depending on the model and other variables.

"Connecticut is taking important steps to ensure sustainability of our environment and energy resources. Electric Car Community Days offer an opportunity for residents and businesses to explore yet another way to reduce their carbon footprint," Daniel Esty, commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said in a news release.

Electric Car Days, the first event of its kind in the state, is being sponsored by Connecticut Light & Power, Northeast Utilities, United Illuminating and the Connecticut Municipal Electricity Cooperative, which includes Groton Utilities and Norwich Utilities.

j.benson@theday.com

If you go

What: Electric Car Days
Where: Howard T. Brown Park, Chelsea Harbor Drive, Norwich
When: Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
For other locations: www.CTJunEcar.org

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