Workers install conduit in the ground on the north end of the Socorro plaza in preparation for a new electric vehicle charging station.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain photos

The past and the future are set to converge when an electric vehicle charging station is finally constructed at the City of Socorro’s historic plaza.

Work has begun on the promised electric vehicle charging station, announced by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in July 2022. If construction is not delayed, electric vehicles may be able to charge up at the plaza by late summer.

The charging station is not brand-specific, so any electric vehicle will be able to power up at the plaza, said Socorro Utilities Director Lloyd Martinez.

The over half a million-dollar project was funded primarily by the federal American Rescue Plan Act and by state funds. The charging station itself is $150,000, but the work to install it comes at a much higher price tag of $407,000.

Digging began in early May for the electric vehicle charging station in the Socorro plaza.

APIC Solutions Inc. out of Albuquerque will complete construction of the charging station, according to the Governor’s office.

The charging station needed significantly more electricity than was available through the existing infrastructure, which was part of the high installation cost, said Statewide Facilities Director Richard Chavez. A transformer had to be upgraded so that it had enough capacity for the electricity required to run the charger, which incurred an expense of $49,000 paid to the Socorro Electric Coop. Approval for the new transformer slowed down the project, said Martinez.

The city of Socorro is spending just shy of $40,000 on the project, said Martinez. The city is paying $27,000 for a four-year service agreement with ChargePoint to run the charging stations. The city is also paying to replace the road that was dug up, which will cost an estimated $10,000.

ChargePoint, the charger manufacturer and the company that runs payment processing, will receive 10 percent of the fee when someone charges at the station, while the city will collect the rest. The city’s financial director has already been trained on the payment system, Martinez said.

City workers dug a trench for a new 6-inch conduit earlier this month and the electrician contracted for the job has installed the new conduit in the ground. The project still has work left to go and is estimated for completion in mid-June or mid-July at the latest, Chavez said. After construction, a representative from ChargePoint will inspect the equipment to make sure it’s properly installed and constructed, he said.

The plaza was selected as the location for the charging station to help drive tourism to the historic area of Socorro, said Martinez. Ideally, visitors will walk through the plaza, patronize local businesses on the plaza, visit the Isidro Baca Veteran’s Park or visit the nearby San Miguel Mission as their vehicle charges.

Socorro Mayor Ravi Bhasker’s hotel has had electric vehicle charging stations. Two to three cars a day make use of those stations, according to Bhasker.