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Drive Electric NWA in Rogers is expected to raise awareness of electric vehicles and allow attendees to ask about issues, such as charging infrastructure or range anxiety.
Springdale-based nonprofit Northwest Arkansas Council will host the free, drop-in event from noon to 5 p.m. on Sept. 24 in a parking lot adjacent to JCPenney at Pinnacle Hills Promenade. The event has more than a dozen sponsors. Rain date is Oct. 1.
Rob Smith, policy director for Northwest Arkansas Council, said the idea for the event came about after discussions on how to educate people about electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. He hopes attendees will leave with greater knowledge and comfort of electric vehicles.
Sponsors, such as Flux Car Charging Solutions and Francis Energy, can address charging infrastructure.
Smith noted the various levels of chargers. Level 1 chargers are the slowest and commonly used at home. Level 2 chargers are slightly faster and often found in store parking lots. He said DC fast, or Level 3, chargers can charge an electric vehicle in 30-45 minutes.
Regarding range anxiety, he explained addressing it through good planning. “That’s one of the things that we want to answer,” Smith said. “Tell me about range anxiety. Tell me how I’m going to be assured that I can make it to Dallas. What do I need to do?”
Asked whether the grid can handle electric vehicle charging, Kris Williams, director of energy services for Ozarks Electric Cooperative, said the transition to electric vehicles will happen over time. While 80% of U.S. residents are expected to own an electric vehicle by about 2055, this will only translate to a 10%-15% increase in electricity consumption, said Williams, adding that technology advancements are improving the energy efficiency of appliances, equipment and vehicles.
Also, Williams said 70%-80% of electric vehicles will charge from home or at a workplace. “In preparation of this, Ozarks Electric has developed a lower energy rate that encourages charging for the vehicle during off-peak hours,” he said. “Charging during off-peak hours takes advantage of increased power availability.”
Other event sponsors include vehicle dealerships, such as Lewis Automotive Group and Nunnally Chevrolet. Also, Evolve Auto, an electric vehicle dealer in North Little Rock, is expected to be at the event. And, Moosejaw will register attendees for a drawing to win a Vvolt Alpha e-bike.