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EIA’s Energy Day introduces electric vehicles to state legislators

The day featured a selection of EVs for legislators and others in attendance to view.

(VIA ENERGY INSTITUTE OF ALABAMA)

The Energy Institute of Alabama (EIA) focused on the growing electric vehicle (EV) sector at its annual Energy Day at the state Capitol on Wednesday. The day featured a selection of EVs for legislators and others in attendance to view thanks to EIA’s partnership this year with Drive Electric Alabama.

Market research shows most Alabamians have never driven or ridden in an EV, while the recent spike in gas prices has made many consumers more interested in them.

Several speakers, including Alabama Department of Community and Economic Development Affairs Director, Kenneth Boswell, spoke to legislators about EV-related topics. He noted ADECA awarded 18 grants totaling $4.1 million last year to fund EV charging infrastructure.

“We understand EVs represent a huge change in the automotive landscape, whether that’s building them or recharging them away from home, and it’s important that Alabama doesn’t get left behind,” Boswell said. “Employment in Alabama’s automotive manufacturing sector now exceeds 40,000, with Mercedes, Hyundai, Honda and Mazda Toyota, as well as the state’s growing automotive supplier network.

“Alabama must keep its automobile manufacturing sector strong. We also recognize the huge impact tourism has on our state,” he continued. “As more EVs hit the road, visitors to our state need options to charge those vehicles. Because we don’t want to be left behind while other states make life easier for EV owners.”

Other speakers included Justice Smyth, interim director of the Alabama Mobile and Power (AMP) Center at the University of Alabama; Joshua Holland, Director of Government & Environmental Affairs for Alabama Graphite Products; and Bishop Van Moody, pastor of The Worship Center Christian Church in Birmingham who is an EV owner.

Legislators from both the House and Senate, staff members and others attended the Energy Day program on the Capitol lawn. The selection of EVs on display included a Ford F-150 Lightning pick-up truck, which drew considerable attention from lawmakers.

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EIA Executive Director Blake Hardwich noted legislators debate and confront many complicated and important issues during the Legislative session, and EIA’s Energy Day is designed to give them critical information in a concise format.

Westwater Resources and Alabama Graphite is building a graphite processing plant in Kellyton in Coosa County. Graphite is a critical component in lithium-ion batteries used in EVs, as well as other electronics, but the U.S. currently relies on graphite from China. Alabama Graphite also plans to begin mining graphite in Coosa County as early as 2028.

The event was also co-sponsored by Drive Electric Alabama, the state’s education campaign dedicated to EVs, and the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition.

“We know EVs and the automobile sector are a huge economic engine for our state,” Hardwich said. “It’s always gratifying to talk with Alabama’s leaders about such an important topic, and we appreciate so many Legislators taking time out of their busy schedule to be with us.” 

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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