Four municipalities and a global financial services leader are joining with Connecticut Light & Power to install charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles as part of a major research project with CL&P parent Northeast Utilities.

Approximately 20 municipalities and businesses served by CL&P are expected to participate in the research effort. Among the first to sign on to install and maintain charging equipment are UBS in Stamford, the city of Torrington and the towns of Westport and Mansfield. The town of West Hartford is expected to join the project shortly.

“We’ve worked hard to make Connecticut an early market for electric vehicles, so we’re excited to launch New England’s first comprehensive, hands-on EV study,” said Jeff Butler, CL&P’s president and chief operating officer. “By gathering information from municipal and business customers, we can gain tangible experience to help guide future decisions about our infrastructure, our policies and how we will ultimately serve all of our customers as EVs become more common.”

NU has already installed charging stations at company offices in Berlin and Hartford, Connecticut; Springfield, Massachusetts; and Manchester, New Hampshire. Additionally, NU’s Western Massachusetts Electric Co. (WMECo) subsidiary has one customer site installed and another planned.

“By year-end, we expect to have a network of more than 30 charging stations in place and generating detailed meter data,” said Watson Collins, EV project manager for NU. “We’ll have a robust picture of away-from-home charging levels, to study along with home-based use as more EV drivers recharge overnight,” he said.

The NU companies are also testing Chevy Volts in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute of Palo Alto, California, according to Collins. “It’s all about understanding how EV recharging impacts the electric utility system under a variety of conditions,” Collins added.