UNA gets electric car charging stations
Aug 26, 2017 Jennifer Edwards

UNA students gather around a Tesla Model X parked on the Harrison Plaza on
Friday afternoon. A small fleet of Tesla electric vehicles were in town as
part of the unveiling of electric vehicle charging stations on the UNA
campus.  / Jennifer Edwards

FLORENCE -- The University of North Alabama could become an electric car
gathering spot now with the installation of Tesla and generic electric
vehicle charging stations.

The Tesla charging stations went online Thursday, and the other charging
stations will be installed once the equipment arrives.

Representatives with Tesla, a premium electric car company, were in Florence
for the Billy Reid Shindig on Friday and made the official announcement
about the charging stations.

Tesla provided the charging stations at no cost, and contributed $3,000 per
station for installation.

UNA marketing professor Santanu Borah said the partnership came together
quickly as this weekend's Shindig event approached.

UNA President Ken Kitts was given the opportunity to drive the Tesla Model
X, a top-of-the-line crossover SUV, early Friday afternoon. During his
drive, he noted that a partnership with an innovative company like Tesla is
in line with the personality of the university.

"There is a good bit of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit at UNA and in
this community," he said.

There are just two other electric vehicle charging stations in Florence and
both are located at private businesses.

Tesla has a specific plug for its vehicle charging stations, but the more
universal charging station can be used for other types of electric vehicles,
such as the Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius or the Chevrolet Bolt.

The charging stations are located at the back of the small UNA parking lot
on Irvine Avenue, and at the side of the university math building in the
parking lot behind Stevens Hall.

The Tesla charging stations appear on the in-vehicle interface as a
lightning bolt icon to help Tesla drivers find a charging station while on
the move.

The installation of public charging stations could help bolster economic
growth in the Shoals, Chamber of Commerce Director Caitlin Holland said in a
news release.

"We strive to make our community one that builds upon its storied past in
order to create a prosperous future," Holland said. "To achieve that goal,
we must always look to the future -- the future of industry, education,
health care and transportation. The availability of charging facilities for
the rapidly expanding electric vehicle market would be a step in that
important direction."

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