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EV are great for Hoosiers

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New jobs. Millions saved in energy costs. Cleaner communities. A smoother transition to electric vehicles. That’s why the REV Midwest Agreement is great news for all of us.

Did you catch Gov. Eric Holcomb’s announcement on Sept. 30? He and the governors of Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio signed REV Midwest to promote a robust and equitable transition to electric vehicles by creating more wide-spread charging options. The agreement boasts better public health, substantial savings to even small businesses and low-income households and the hope that the Midwest can reinvigorate its role in auto manufacturing.

Imagine life for the first car buyers. If they were to use their cars to go long distances or into the country, they’d need more fuel stations. Without those, cars would be a hobby for the wealthy. The EV charging network across these five states will ensure that keep up with trends reported by car designers such as Volvo, GM, Ford and Jaquar. They all plan to see only EV’s by the mid 2030’s. The fleet is changing and early EV buyers will welcome more options for charging.

Not all Americans have the disposition to be early adopters, so perhaps this will inspire more acceptance. WTHR reported that the network will result in more than 100,000 new technician jobs, paying about $80,000 a year, at least that’s the national average reported by ZIPRecruiter and The Mobilists’ Steve Levine. Like many other skilled technician jobs, these don’t require a four-year college degree.

The EV transition benefits the average car owner through savings on fuel costs and a steep decline in operating costs. State-wide projections through 2050 add up to more than $3 billion in operating cost savings and $500 million in utility cost savings.

Dr. Karen Gunther bought her EV after owning two hybrids. She tends to own cars for more than 10 years and realized as her last Prius’ lithium battery limped to its retirement during the shutdown that in 10 years, she’d want to be driving an EV. She bought a Tesla, which she charges in her garage, using a dryer outlet she had installed. She’s been impressed at charging times and the low cost so far. It recharges fast when her battery power is low and slows as it approaches full charge. This helps from overcharging. She hasn’t seen a significant hike in her power bill either. In fact, most owners see only a $30-60 increase monthly, far less than monthly refuels at the gas pump.

Most owners plug in at home, some install the dryer outlet adapters, others use the slower common 120V outlet. One charge lets Gunther take a round trip to Bloomington, Indianapolis, Lafayette and other cities, with charge to spare. She likes to know that her car is ready if her beloved cat Ms. Sushi should need an emergency visit to the vet.

Gunther’s Tesla calculates distance to charge for stops on her longer trips. She traveled to Cape Cod last summer and found that she could stop for a meal and recharge for efficiency. While the options for charging in the Midwest were harder to find, as she drove east she found stations with eight, even 15, charging slots. On average, a charge would cost her about $15, though other stations charged more, and many had a fee if an owner left the car too long after charging completed. Naturally, that would prevent another car from accessing power.

Gunther has found that many charging stations are within walking distance of good restaurants. In Fort Wayne, one of the most beloved Italian restaurants has both Tesla and regular charging spots. Here in Crawfordsville, an EV can recharge while owners visit the library, shop or eat at our growing number of downtown restaurants.

By design, Gunther’s EV calculates trips, but she noted, “The car does do one uncomfortable thing — ‘she’ calculates how much charge we need to make it to our final destination. She does not factor in how much we might need to get to the next charging station. I had assumed that a town as large as Paducah, Kentucky would certainly have a Tesla charging station. It does not. The closest one is 36 miles away. Fortunately, we had enough charge to get there, arriving on electron fumes.”

All we have to do is to look ahead rather than trusting a specific place will have a charging station. As states commit to networks, she anticipates the problem will lessen as there are more charging stations. Or better yet, Gov. Holcomb, scientists at Purdue University and the German company Magment are partnering to create pavement that would charge EVs while they drove. Indiana hopes to be the first state to pilot the technology. No word yet on which roads will be the first location.

 

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