University Electric crew working on wiring for EV chargers that will go in the parking lot on Fifth Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard in Youngstown.

Full power: University Electric setting up chargers for EV drivers in Youngstown

Charging stations will soon be available for EV drivers in two parking lots in downtown Youngstown. University Electric is the contractor hooking up the service and installing them.

The existing Kress lot, next to West Federal Street, will eventually have two stations capable of charging four vehicles at a time.

“We have not started there yet. It won’t require as much work – as we’re just upgrading the electrical panel from its current state to a larger capacity panel and then putting in the charging stations,” said Eric Jay, vice president, University Electric.

Charging up EV drivers…and more

However, on Fifth Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard, a new parking lot is being created. Two EV stations will be installed – with the ability to charge four vehicles.

University Electric crew at EV charger parking lot on Fifth Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard in Youngstown
University Electric crew with the electrical panel that will provide service for the EV charging stations.

“It’s been a pretty smooth job. Between help from the city and general contractor, it’s been moving quickly,” Jay said. 

A few other parking spots will be available in that lot. Also included – an e-bike rental and bike racks, bio-retention pond, benches and informational and educational displays.

Jordan Karim is a design engineer for the city of Youngstown and is handling all the logistics.

“These are Level 2 chargers. They’re ideal for people coming downtown that will be parked for at least an hour or two,” he said.

An average EV would gain about 30 miles of driving distance per hour.

The cost is measured per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Karim says to charge a vehicle for two hours, the fee would be $1. Drivers will be able to pay with a credit or debit card.

Inner workings of EV charger installation

It might come as a surprise, but charger installations are not as complicated as people tend to believe.

Wiring for the EV charger service.
Electricians working on wiring that will run from service panel to EV chargers.

“It’s all standard, run-of-the-mill electrical work. We’re installing the service, running wire and conduits underground for the charging stations, as well as putting in light poles for the parking lot,” Jay said.

“A lot of people think you need more power than you do. It’s not any more complicated than installing a dryer in your home,” Karim added.

Setting light pole for the EV charger parking lot in Youngstown.
University Electric installing the light pole for the parking lot.

The projects were only made possible because the city applied for, and obtained, money through the Ohio EPA VW Mitigation Grants (Diesel Mitigation Trust Fund).

Karim said the city would need to find additional funding before more EV chargers could even be considered. However, he hopes to one day see access to fast charging stations.

Progress picture of EV charger parking lot in Youngstown.
Progress of the Fifth Ave. and Martin Luther King Blvd. parking lot with EV chargers. (Picture courtesy: City of Youngstown)

“It’s all about creating new interest in the downtown area and helping to support restaurants and businesses.”

According to Jay, electricians should be wrapping up their portion of the work before mid-July.

University Electric is a member contractor of NECA-IBEW Electricians, an association consisting of IBEW Local 64 in Youngstown, IBEW Local 573 in Warren and signatory electrical contractors throughout the Mahoning Valley.