August 10, 2021 Home
For most Americans, a car is necessary to carry on the activities of daily life. Some who live in urban areas can rely on public transportation, but still everyone wants to go out for a ride from time to time.
The gasoline station has been a fixture of American life for many decades. Need gas? Just pull into the station and get it. Occasionally, due to international politics or shortages or disruption of gas lines, gas is difficult to get or comes at a steep price per gallon.
With General Motors and Ford leading the way to production of electric vehicles (EVs), a new industry of EV chargers is emerging. There are basically three types of chargers in use today: levels 1, 2, and 3. They all function by plugging the car into an electricity provider – whether at home or at work or at a tourist attraction.
Level 1 chargers are commonly used at home and can replenish a car’s battery overnight. Level 2 chargers (at home, at work, or in a shopping mall) can fill your car’s battery in several hours. Level 3 chargers can fill your battery up in a half hour, so when you finish shopping or eating at a restaurant, you are ready to drive on.
This is all good, but what about going on a road trip for a vacation or to visit family or friends? As the EV industry grows, more and more utilities and states are planning and initiating level 3 charging stations on highways. Six major utilities (including TVA) have formed the Electric Highway Coalition to install a network of level 3 fast chargers in 15 states.
Here in Tennessee, the Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has begun installing about 50 new fast charging stations every 50 miles along Tennessee’s interstates and major highways. There are currently 24 stations operating. There is increasing demand for fast charging stations at state parks and recreation areas.
Tesla (which makes only EVs) has its own supercharger network with about 1,000 stations in the U.S. Other EVs cannot use this network.
As with any new technology, there will be problems to be faced. We are so accustomed to pulling into a gas station. Changing our habits to adjust to something new is often difficult. The shift to EVs is beginning. As pointed out by David Callis, the Executive Director of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, “the Wright brothers had a number of failures before that successful flight.”
Holston Electric Cooperative, which serves Hawkins County, has an electric charger at the cooperative office which can be used by EV owners. Numerous other electric cooperatives have installed chargers to serve their members. Again, to quote Mr. Callis, “Who knows what the transportation landscape is going to look like in 10, 20 or even 30 years? It might be a future where we simply refer to electric vehicles as “vehicles”.
Everyone needs to learn more about our electric cooperative. For more information, go to pve.coop.