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Farmington works to install electric vehicle charging stations throughout city

Five sites expected to be ready for public use soon

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
The Farmington Electric Utility System has acquired a new electric vehicle.

AZTEC — The number of charging stations for electric vehicles in San Juan County will increase significantly soon.

Currently, there are a couple of Tesla charging stations at hotels in Farmington, but they can only charge Tesla vehicles. There is also an electric vehicle charging station at Aztec City Hall that the public can use.

The Farmington Electric Utility System anticipates having five electric vehicle charging stations for public use completed within the upcoming months, according to FEUS Director Hank Adair. The charging stations are considered rapid-charging locations, and vehicles can drive 25 miles after an hour of charging.

More:Electric vehicles are gaining popularity, prompting Farmington to consider charging stations

The utility already has installed a charging center at the municipal operations center. That charging station is used to charge Farmington’s new Nissan Leaf and to allow the utility workers to learn about maintaining and operating such systems. Adair said the utility purchased the Leaf last month and will have a competition this fall for school children to design a logo for it. This logo will help people know that it is an electric vehicle.

Much of the electric work has been done to prepare several sites within the city for publicly available charging stations. Those locations have been chosen based on their proximity to local attractions and services.

The Farmington City Council approved the charging stations last year.

Those five public locations include:

  • Downtown Farmington 
  • Farmington Museum at Gateway Park
  • Farmington Public Library
  • The East Main Street shopping corridor
  • Berg Park
A Nissan Leaf charges at the electric utility's charging station located at the Farmington municipal operations center.

With the exception of the East Main Street location, the sites are located on city property. Adair said the city is in discussions with the Animas Valley Mall to have the East Main charging station located on mall property.

In addition to being close to shopping, recreation and entertainment, some of the locations also tie in with other projects in the city. For example, the downtown location — in a parking lot off Allen Avenue — comes as Farmington works on major downtown renovations. And the Gateway Park location is a place the city hopes to turn into an iconic park.

Adair anticipates that the main people using the charging stations will be from this region, such as people coming to Farmington for shopping.

The stations will receive power from the Farmington electric grid, which gets approximately 20% of its electricity from hydropower. Hydropower is considered a clean energy source. The amount of electricity from hydropower depends on river flows. Farmington also receives electricity from coal and natural gas power plants.

While there may not be a lot of electric vehicles on the streets of Farmington at this time, Adair said the numbers likely will increase in the future.

Already, Adair said a surprising number of Tesla owners traveling through Farmington take advantage of charging stations at hotels in the city.

Farmington Electric Utility System's new Nissan Leaf charges at the Municipal Operations Center.

As the range and types of those vehicles increase, Adair said people may see more electric vehicles on the road.

Earlier this month, the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department announced that the Federal Highway Administration had designated the first alternative fuel corridors in the state. Those corridors include routes that have electric, hydrogen, propane and natural gas stations. 

More:Cleaner fuel on the map: New Mexico establishes alternative fuel corridors

Alternative fuel corridors for electric vehicles require charging stations every 50 miles.

Interstates 25 and 10 through New Mexico — as well as U.S. highways 70 and 285 — will be listed as alternative fuel corridors. 

Adair anticipates in the future there will be charging stations along U.S. Highway 550.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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