Fast charging in Fosston
NMPA community puts grant-funded DC fast-charging station into service for electric vehicles
Fosston, Minn., is a small town that prides itself on providing excellent amenities to its 1,400 citizens. The people of Fosston have access to an indoor swimming pool, two miles of public walking trails, new pickleball courts and many other luxurious perks.
“We just do some things that other small communities don’t,” said Cassie Heide, Fosston city administrator. “We have more amenities in Fosston than some communities five times our size.”
The newest addition to Fosston’s suite of community services was powered up this summer – an electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging station. Community members and visitors can pull into the city hall parking lot to connect to the Direct Current (DC) charger, which adds 80% to an EV’s battery in about 30 minutes.
Fosston was one of four Northern Municipal Power Agency (NMPA) communities to qualify for a substantial state grant designed to help increase access to public EV charging in Minnesota. With the chance to offer this new amenity with a reduced price tag, Heide and the city of Fosston worked tirelessly for two years to get the fast charger operational.
Despite supply chain issues that loomed over the project, Fosston’s fast charger went into service in mid-July of 2023 and became the first fast charger in the state to go live from this round of grant funding.
“Cassie deserves a lot of credit for her leadership on the project and for getting this done,” said Jasper Schneider, NMPA general manager.
“We are literally on the map now,” said Heide. “Our residents who have been thinking about getting an electric vehicle can feel better about it and have somewhere to fast charge if they need it.”
As the other state grant recipients work toward getting their DC chargers installed, NMPA created its own grant to encourage all 12 member communities to install electric vehicle chargers in their own cities.
“The vision for NMPA is that at some point all 12 of our cities will have public NMPA-branded EV chargers,” said Schneider. “I think utilities have a leadership role to play in putting this equipment out there and saying that we support this kind of infrastructure. But also, I think it sends a message to people in the community that EVs are supported.”
Utilities across the county have been helping advance the adoption of electric vehicle technology. Having access to a DC fast-charging station in an area of Minnesota known as a “public charging desert” is a huge milestone for the NMPA community. And the city of Fosston is just getting started with its own adoption of electric technology.
“As we are updating our fleet and our next city bus, we are definitely looking at EVs. We are a utility company. We should be leading the charge,” Heide said.