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Sunday, February 03, 2013

Plug and Go: Charging Up at the Westport Station

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By Dave Matlow

Westporter Barry Kresch, an owner of a “plug-in” hybrid Chevrolet Volt, is used to getting special attention with his car. And today he got plenty. Image
Westporter Barry Kresch plugs in his Chevrolet Volt at the Westport train station today as Leo Cirino, head of the Westport Electric Car Club, looks on. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

He and his electric and gasoline-powered vehicle made history of sorts at the Metro-North Westport train station in Saugatuck by becoming the first user of the new electric vehicle charging stations there –- stations powered by solar panels on the eastbound stationhouse roof.

On hand to greet him was Leo Cirino, head of the Westport Electric Car Club and one of the proponents of the project, which gives electric vehicle owners with railroad parking permits a preferred space at the station until 10 a.m. After that, the spaces are available to any permit holder.

Kresch, a marketing and analytics consultant who was boarding the 10:32 a.m. train for Grand Central, said he had driven the vehicle about 3,000 miles since he acquired it in October.

“I feel like the poster child for green since I also use geo-thermal energy in my Partrick Road home,” he said.

Proud of his hybrid vehicle, Kresch boasted, “I get around 188 miles per gallon of fuel. I usually fill it up around once a month.”  He said the longest trip he has driven so far was to Washington, D.C. and back.

It required a tank full (eight to nine gallons) once each way plus a four-hour charge when in D.C., he said.

Remarking on the feeling of being an early owner of a plug-in hybrid vehicle Kresch, 59, said, “It’s still a novelty to me and to others.

“It gets a lot of stares and people ask a lot of questions. When I’m driving around town and see another hybrid vehicle, it’s fairly standard that we flash our lights at each other.”

Kresch said the “biggest surprise” he has had about owning the Volt is the “blast of apps I get on my smartphone.”

“I can start the car remotely, read my battery level and lots of other things like that,” he said. “Although there’s a lot of touch screen technology, I wish there were more voice commands.” 

Kresch said if he had one piece of advice to a potential buyer it is: “I would strongly recommend they read the manual.”

A formal dedication ceremony of the recently renovated eastbound stationhouse, its solar panels, and the electric vehicle charging stations is scheduled in the near future.

Posted 02/03 at 12:02 AM 

Comments:     Comment Policy

Very cool!

Is the charging station powered completly by the solar panels?

Where is George Jetson?

Posted by Rick Spoon on February 04, 2013 at 03:43 PM | #

Yes it is and the utility buys back the extra juice.

Posted by john shuck on February 04, 2013 at 11:33 PM | #

Thanks John.

Fantastic undertaking!

Posted by Rick Spoon on February 05, 2013 at 02:17 PM | #

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