When classes start at Central Oregon Community College on Sept. 23, students and faculty at the school’s Redmond and Madras campuses will see something new in the parking lots: electric vehicle charging stations.

COCC and environmentally focused nonprofit 350 Deschutes have partnered to put two charging stations each on the Redmond and Madras campus parking lots. The stations were mostly paid for by a $58,664 grant from Pacific Power, according to COCC spokesman Ron Paradis. The COCC Sustainability Committee, which collects 25 cents per credit from student fees for green projects, contributed an additional $10,000 toward the project.

The charging stations will provide 25 to 40 miles of energy per hour of charging, according to a 350 Deschutes press release.

Anastacia Compton, program and volunteer coordinator for 350 Deschutes, said the charging stations will make owning an electric vehicle more feasible for students and faculty who travel long distances to Madras or Redmond.

“A community like Madras, people are commuting from rural locations, some at some distance,” she said. “To be able to top off their electricity makes it an easier commute.”

Compton added that the project also provides more charging stations for two cities that don’t have many. According to the website PlugShare, which tracks electric vehicle charging stations around the country, Redmond only has one charging station within its city limits, while Madras has two. Bend has 23, Sisters has three and Prineville has one. Sunriver has two charging stations, and there is one at La Pine State Park.

Compton said the charging stations won’t only benefit COCC faculty and students, but also people traveling through Central Oregon who might need extra juice before crossing through a mountain pass or remote rural area.

“As people travel from Bend to Hood River, or longer than that, charging stations along the way make it (easier),” she said. “It’s infrastructure, just like putting in gas stations.”

According to Paradis, users of the chargers won’t have to pay, for at least the first year. However, the school is considering having a two-hour time limit.

The charging stations could also boost the local economies of Madras and Redmond, Compton said.

“As (travelers) leave their car to charge up, they can wander into town or get lunch,” she said.

There are no plans to add charging stations to COCC’s main campus in Bend, as the city already has plenty of options for electric vehicle owners, Paradis said.

Ribbon-cutting ceremonies for the electric charging stations in Madras and Redmond are scheduled for Sept. 11 and Oct. 9, respectively. Paradis said both sets of stations are expected to be ready for electric vehicles by mid-September.

— Reporter: 541-617-7854, jhogan@bendbulletin.com