Massachusetts has gained its first public level 3 electric vehicle charger, it was announced this week. The new fast charge point was unveiled at its new installation site near the Transportation Services building on the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The charger, obtained through a partnership with Nissan, will charge an electric vehicle such as the Leaf to an 80 percent charge from an empty battery in half-an-hour. Electricity for this charging station, as well as that of four level 2 chargers which will be installed later this year, will be produced by the campus’s Central Heating Plant.

University officials said that “while the plant uses natural gas to generate energy, the electricity goes directly to the cars, as opposed to the power plant fueling the petrol plant and then going to gas to fuel cars. This cuts the vehicle emissions to a quarter of what they would be for gas car.”

image via UMass Amherst
image via UMass Amherst

The level 3 charger will be available to members of Chargepoint, a national system that provides either free access or manages a pay-per-visit account, similar to an EZ Pass account. It will also be used as a research device, as data collected from it will “be used by UMass Amherst researchers as part of ongoing studies of emerging technologies, particularly in the area of transportation engineering.”

“Developing the infrastructure necessary to charge electric vehicles makes them a more viable option for the Commonwealth’s residents,” said state Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard K. Sullivan Jr in a statement. “The Patrick administration is committed to expanding the use of cleaner vehicles to protect the environment and reduce our reliance on imported fossil fuels.”

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