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Otter Tail adds electric charger at Willie's

The new electric vehicle charger at Willie's Supervalu in Morris. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times1 / 2
Otter Tail Power Company worked with Willie's Supervalu and the city of Morris to install an electric car charger on the exterior wall of the grocery story. From left, Max Martin of Willie's, Bill Klyve of Otter Tail, Paul Martin of Willie's, Morris City Manager Blaine Hill and Lori Moxness of Otter Tail. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times2 / 2

Another dot was added to the PlugShare map which lists locations of electric car charger stations in Minnesota.

An electric car charger has been installed at Willie's Supervalu in Morris. Representatives from Otter Tail Power Company, Willie's, the city of Morris and the University of Minnesota Morris gathered for a formal announcement on Wednesday, May 9, at the charging station.

Willie's will provide free electricity to the Level 2 charger, said Bill Klyve, the Otter Tail energy representative in Morris. Otter Tail paid for the charger at a cost of about $1,500 to $1,800, Klyve said.

The project was initiated by the city of Morris and city manager Blaine Hill, Klyve said. Hill asked about installing an electric car charger in Morris. Klyve said early conversations had city hall as a possible site but Klyve said the Willie's parking lot is a better location.

The charger is attached to the exterior wall that faces the alley.

Most of the population in Morris shops at Willie's at some point, Klyve said. Also, the site encourages out-of-towners to plug in their vehicles and shop or dine at Willie's and explore other businesses in town, Klyve said.

Hill said the primary users of the electric charging site may be out-of-towners. It's important to expand charging sites in western Minnesota for those who are visiting the region and specifically visiting Morris, Hill said.

"Our transit (office) is right over there ," Hill said of the short distance between Willie's and city hall. "(A visitor) can hop on the transit and head to the university for a meeting and come back to a charged vehicle."

"We're happy to have it here," Willie's owner Paul Martin said.

The charger at Willie's is the second electric car charger to be added to the area is less than a month.

The West Central Research and Outreach Center added a fast charger and Level 2 charger on April 20.

Klyve said Otter Tail is working with plans to add charging sites in Fergus Falls and Detroit Lakes.

A Level 2 charger can fully charge a vehicle in several hours. A charge of an hour or two can provide enough energy for an electric vehicle to travel a short to moderate distance.