FORT KNOX, Ky. — The green ribbon separated and flittered in the breeze for a couple of seconds as Fort Knox Garrison Commander Col. Lance O’Bryan pretended to holster his oversized scissors.
The brief ceremony at Fort Knox’s Eisenhower Avenue EV charging site June 15 signaled the future of the installation’s growing government electric vehicle fleet.
“We have two sites that are Charge Point ES250 dual-power joined units, so you can charge eight cars at Level 2, or let the machines know that you want to go to Level 3 and it will link two of them together electronically,” said RJ Dyrdek, Energy Division manager at Fort Knox Directorate of Public Works.
The focus of the two charging sites, each with eight charging stations, is for organizations and units with military vehicles to keep them charged. However, people with personal electric vehicles are authorized to charge them as well. Dyrdek said the sites are not designed to make Fort Knox a profit.
“The pricing is all shown under what’s called ‘flex pricing’ with Charge Point,” said Dyrdek. “For us at Fort Knox it matches the cost that we receive from the utility company to buy the electricity, so we’re not making any money on it; we’re just recouping our costs.”
Level 1 refers to the 110–120-volt wall outlets found in most houses. Level 2 is 240 volts, the equivalent of a dryer wall plug. Level 3 is the equivalent of industrial power.
Dyrdek said while the differences in Levels 1-3 equate to charging time — three days compared with roughly 12 hours or, in some cases, less than an hour — customers need to know that they also equate to cost. Even the time of day will affect the rates.
“Customers will be responsible for knowing the difference because they’ll get billed at different rates,” said Dyrdek. “All of that is spelled out on the rate sheet on the front of the screen.”
Dyrdek explained those planning to use a station must first register their vehicle and credit card information with Charge Point. This can be done online at https://www.chargepoint.com/ or by downloading the app.
Once registered, users simply plug in their vehicle and follow the prompts on the screen.
Unlike some sites around the nation that have gone solar with their charging stations, the sites at Fort Knox are hard wired to a transformer supplied by Nolin RECC. Dyrdek said they went with the Charge Point system with smart heads after a lot of research, but he is predicting some adjustments that will need to be made as people start to use the sites.
“All of this is a change from where we have been in the past to a different technology for the automobile industry,” said Dyrdek. “It does have its place in the market, and we’ll establish what that is as we work out all the kinks.
"We had a Bolt, we had a Tesla, and we had an F250 cargo van here today, so how those are going to fit in the future, we still have a lot of learning to do.”