As cities throughout the United States look toward revitalization in the future, the City of Wheeling and its surrounding areas are doing the same. Especially with advancements in technology and the growing popularity of electric vehicles throughout the country, there arises the question of what these cities can do to invest in their communities, economies, and environment. For some, the installation of Tesla’s electric vehicle charging stations has been a significant step, and places like Downtown Wheeling and New Vrindaban, also known as Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold in Moundsville, WV, are beginning to take it.
So far, there exists three additional places where charging stations can be found in the Wheeling and Ohio Valley area, the City of Wheeling and the Palace of Gold soon bringing this number to five. Although it is unclear which kind the Palace of Gold intends to construct, two types of stations exist, both of which can currently be found in the area:
Depending on the patron’s needs, they can find Tesla’s “superchargers,” which are meant to offer a quick “fill-up” of their electric vehicle’s battery, or they can find “destination connectors,” which provide a slower, usually overnight charge for the battery.1
Not including Wheeling’s and The Palace of Gold’s additions, 12 total superchargers, and 2 destination connectors* currently exist in the area:
Hampton Inn and Suites Wheeling (The Highlands) 35 Bob Wise Drive, Tridelphia, WV 26059 4 Superchargers available
Sheetz (The Highlands) 25 Gantzer Ridge Road, Tridelphia, WV 26059 8 Superchargers available
465 Lodge Drive, Wheeling, WV 26003 2 Destination Connectors available for resort patrons
To learn more about the other charging stations that are to come to the area, I reached out to the City of Wheeling’s Mayor Glenn Elliott and New Vrindaban’s Thomas Haribol for a few words on the process, both of which seemed excited about the upcoming construction.
Mayor Glenn Elliott is looking forward to Wheeling’s investment in the current and prospective residents of Wheeling who use electric vehicles. He states that “As the cost of electric vehicles continues to come down and their range and functionality increases, we [the City of Wheeling] expect to see an increasing share of the vehicle market transfer to electric in the [coming] years,” arguing that “cities are going to need to adapt to reflect this changing reality.”
Although he recognizes the continued presence of gas-powered vehicles in the area, the Mayor doesn’t want to count out those who prefer electric vehicles. He adds that “the fact of the matter is that people who use them [electric vehicles] like them and often feel like they are being part of the solution in confronting climate change” and that “We want to be a city that welcomes people of this mindset.”
As for the current status on Downtown Wheeling’s investment in electric vehicle charging stations, Mayor Elliott explained a bit of the process. He says, “City Council saw an opportunity with the construction of the new Market Street Parking Garage to make an investment in electric car charging stations.”
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As a result of this, Wheeling can expect to see 4 charging stations (2 dual-port stations) constructed within the new parking garage. The City claims that the stations will be “available for usage when the garage opens next summer.”
Speaking then with Thomas Haribol, he and the Palace of Gold share the same sentiment regarding combating climate change through the use of electric vehicles. He commented that “supporting the use of electric vehicles is part of our larger commitment to environmentally sustainable practices such as recycling, composting, sourcing renewable energy, land and water conservation, and other green initiatives going on at New Vrindaban.”
He adds that the Palace of Gold has only continued to gain popularity over the years, with over 40,000 guests visiting last year, and 12,000 of them staying for overnight and several day stays. With this, Haribol mentioned the significance of electric vehicles and charging stations for many of these visitors, stating, “They travel from across the US and Canada. More and more of our guests are driving electric vehicles and because they may stay for a day or overnight, there is a growing demand for charging stations here.”
Although the construction of electric vehicle charging stations has not yet begun at the Palace of Gold, they have been in contact with Tesla to develop a plan for implementing them in the near future.
The City of Wheeling and Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold believe that investing in charging stations will be a huge motivator for neighboring cities. Not only are they investing in the people in the Ohio Valley, but they are taking an important step in investing in the environment.
• Alexis (Alex) Walton was raised across the Ohio River in Martins Ferry, OH. She is currently a senior at West Liberty University with majors in professional writing and literature and a minor in creative writing. She has worked as a writing consultant, proofreader, and bookseller, and is currently interning with Wheeling Heritage and Weelunk. When she’s not busy with academics, she can be found playing video games, watching slasher films, and cuddling with her cat and ball python, Marcy and Jasper