Tomah Ground Round Grill debuts EV charging hub

“To find Tyson and his wife, Julia, to host this station was a perfect fit,” ZEF Energy CEO Matthew Blackler says. “It is my hope that others can see a local business undergo this endeavor and be inspired to also become an electric vehicle driver destination.”

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TOMAH, WISCONSIN — Ground Round Grill & Bar in Tomah, Wisconsin will unveil its new public electric vehicle charging hub during a celebration September 6, project partners announced Tuesday.

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The celebration will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Ground Round Grill & Bar, 201 Helen Walton St. #1 in Tomah, Wisconsin. The event is free and open to the public.

“Tomah is the halfway stop for travelers between Minneapolis and Milwaukee or Minneapolis and Chicago,” Tomah Ground Round Bar & Grill Owner Tyson Koput said. “Everyone who travels that corridor knows Tomah because it’s a place to stop, refuel, stretch your legs and grab a bite to eat. Now, travelers can add recharging to that list. We just felt it was a great fit for our business and we’re happy to be able to provide the service.”

The ZEF Energy charging hub allows three electric vehicles to charge at the same time. The station includes one DC fast charger and two Level II chargers. The DC fast charger provides 200 miles of battery range for every hour the vehicle is plugged in while the two Level II chargers provide 25 miles of battery range for every hour the vehicle is plugged in.

“To find Tyson and his wife, Julia, to host this station was a perfect fit,” ZEF Energy CEO Matthew Blackler said. “It is my hope that others can see a local business undergo this endeavor and be inspired to also become an electric vehicle driver destination.”

The electric vehicle charging hub represents the first of its kind charging station in the City of Tomah and the first DC fast charger in Western Wisconsin. The station was made possible in part through funding from Dairyland Power Cooperative, Oakdale Electric Cooperative, the Tomah Ground Round Grill & Bar and the Michigan to Montana I-94 Clean Fuel Corridor project.

The Michigan to Montana project, spearheaded by GTI — a leading research, development, and training organization addressing global energy and environmental challenges – is funded through a $4.9 million U.S. Department of Energy Grant awarded in December 2016. It is being facilitated in partnership with Clean Cities Coalitions, including Wisconsin Clean Cities, along the Interstate 94 corridor.

“We applaud all of the project partners for their work in bringing the electric vehicle charging hub to Tomah,” Wisconsin Clean Cities Executive Director Lorrie Lisek said. “This station is filling a large gap in the I-94 corridor for electric vehicle charging in Western Wisconsin. Adding options for electric vehicle charging along the I-94 corridor helps improve air quality, boosts economic development, reduces our nation’s dependence on imported oil and supports local jobs.”

GTI Research and Development Manager Ted Barnes said the U.S. Department of Energy’s support of this project and others along Interstate 94, “confirms the critical role alternative fuel corridors play in our nation’s transportation network. Thank you to the U.S. Department of Energy and all of the project partners for making this new station possible.”

Jeff Springer, manager, Energy Efficiency and Technical Services for Dairyland Power Cooperative, said Dairyland is “thrilled” to be part of the project in Oakdale Electric’s service area.

“It provides a convenient opportunity for electric vehicle drivers to quickly charge their vehicles while traveling along the I-90/94 corridor,” Springer said. “Dairyland and our member distribution cooperatives are actively promoting electric vehicles. Each of our 24 co-ops will also soon have a Level II electric vehicle charger located in their service territory. While not as fast-charging as this unit, these EV hubs will certainly help eliminate ‘range anxiety’ for those traveling longer distances in our four-state service area.”

Oakdale Electric Cooperative Director of Energy Services Todd O’Neil agreed.

“Oakdale Electric Cooperative is proud to be able to support the development of electric vehicles by helping to bring this EV charging hub to our area as part of our commitment to improving energy efficiency for our members as well as visitors to our region,” O’Neil said.

The grand opening celebration will also feature a Wisconsin Clean Cities Midwest EVOLVE (Electric Vehicle Opportunities: Learning, eVents, Experience) electric vehicle ride and drive. Attendees will have the chance to experience electric vehicles first-hand and learn about their many benefits. Electric vehicle owners are welcome and encouraged to attend the event with their vehicles.

Midwest EVOLVE is a three-year effort aimed at demonstrating the performance and environmental benefits of plug-in electric vehicles through showcases, ride and drives and other events. Wisconsin Clean Cities is a partner on the seven-state project with seven other Clean Cities coalitions and the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest.

Anyone who participates in the ride and drive will receive a coupon for $10 off a future visit to the Tomah Ground Round Grill & Bar. Customers who dine in during the event and mention the grand opening will receive 20 percent off their bill as well.

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