Ready or not, we are quickly moving into a new era of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs). EVs first hit the U.S. market in 2010; today there are more than 1.5 million of them on U.S. roads, and that number is expected to keep growing, with millions more plug-in vehicles put in service in the next five years. The attraction of EVs include clean, quiet, high-performance operation, coupled with lower operating costs. EVs also offer the potential for major reductions in emissions from autos and trucks over the coming decades.
Like any new technology, there are still some wrinkles to iron out. The largest obstacle is probably a driver’s “range anxiety”: the fear that the car’s battery charge will deplete itself before the car makes it to the next charging station — if there is a next charging station — thus leaving motorists stranded (on a desolate road or highway, of course).
Ohio Cooperative Living Managing Editor Jeff McCallister recently put the rubber to the road on a journey from Columbus to Nashville in a Tesla Model S. Check out the story to see how Jeff and his family dealt with range anxiety, located charging stations, and experienced the pros and cons of an all-electric excursion.
The good news is that charging station availability is growing fast. Many organizations, including electric cooperatives, have begun adding significantly to the public charging network. Currently, there are about 42,000 public charging stations in the U.S., though as you might expect, nearly a third are in California, where more than 10 times more EVs were sold between 2016 and 2018 than in any other state. Expect to see more chargers sprouting up across Ohio in the next couple of years as more businesses and private individuals move to EVs — including pickup trucks, which are just entering the market.
Whatever your mode of transportation, as you’ll see in this issue, the Buckeye State has it all — from beaches to balloons to all-American sports art. Hope you’re able to get out and enjoy Ohio this summer!
Pat O'Loughlin is president and CEO of Ohio's Electric Cooperatives.