Local chapters of Drive Electric Alabama showcased electric vehicles (EVs) in Birmingham, Mobile and Fort Payne on Saturday, the latest EVents designed to help educate Alabamians, and answer their questions, about EVs.
As EVs become more prevalent on Alabama highways, it’s inevitable that those who have only driven gasoline-powered cars have questions about range, cost savings on fuel and maintenance, and other topics unique to EVs.
At each of Saturday’s three EV showcases, electric vehicle owners talked one-on-one with visitors and shared their personal experiences.
“Electric vehicles are still new to so many people, and it’s always rewarding to help people separate fact from fiction,” said Dale Holden, a leader of the Bay Area Drive Electric Alabama chapter for EV owners and enthusiasts. “EV owners save money and often find they sacrifice nothing when it comes to convenience, safety or performance.”
The EVents in Alabama were part of the national Drive Electric Earth Day initiative, which is designed to share information about all topics related to driving electric.
Local chapters of Drive Electric Alabama also sponsored inaugural Drive Electric Earth Day showcases in Prattville and Enterprise earlier this month.
Virtually every major automobile manufacturer has announced plans to expand its EV fleets, which is why fully electric pick-up trucks, sedans, SUVs and sports cars are becoming more prevalent on Alabama roads. Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai are building EVs right here in Alabama.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) has awarded grants totaling $4.1 million in 2021 and another $2.45 million in 2022 to build EV charging stations throughout the state. Applications for this year’s $1.2 million program recently opened, with a May 22 application deadline.
The utility sector has also stepped forward to pave the way for EV adoption. Alabama Power, for example, recently unveiled a new EV Charger Rebate program for consumers who install a Level 2 charger in their home. Alabama Power also offers an EV Charging Discount program which provides customers with a discounted rate during the off-peak hours of 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has launched the Fast Charge Network in partnership with local power companies to ensure EV fast chargers are installed at least every 50 miles on interstates and major highways across its seven-state service area, including north Alabama. In 2022, Fast Charge Network sites were opened by the Fort Payne Improvement Authority and Cullman Electric Cooperative along Interstates 59 and 65, respectively. In addition, seven more Fast Charge Network locations are under development with local power companies. TVA also donated an EV Charging Station to Lawson State Community College and provided a $10,000 grant to train students on EV technology.
“People want to know more about EVs, and that’s understandable about any new technology,” said Michael Staley, president of the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition, which helped coordinate the EVents. “The truth is most Alabamians have not yet had a chance to ride in an EV and don’t know much about their many benefits. EV owners are the best source for getting honest, candid information, and that’s the real power of these EVents around the state.”