July 2018 Issue
by Colton Faull
While hybrid cars are more popular today than ever, electric vehicles (EVs) have yet to accelerate. Today’s Power, a subsidiary of the Arkansas Electrical Cooperatives, is working on a project to drive their popularity in Arkansas.
Through an exclusive partnership with McLarty Auto Group, Today’s Power wants more Arkansans to adopt electric vehicles.
“We have under 1,000 EVs registered in the state, currently, and that is highly concentrated in Pulaski and Washington counties,” says Jennah Denney with Today’s Power.
Part of the reason there are so few electric vehicles in the natural state is a lack of charging infrastructure, what Denney refers to as range anxiety. “Where if you drive an EV, you may be afraid you can’t get to Fayetteville from Little Rock because of the lack of public infrastructure,” she says.
While currently there are no state plans or legislation to build infrastructure, Denney says commercial businesses are taking the lead on this issue.
Keith Caldarera, variable operations manager at McLarty, says from their perspective, “It became pretty apparent that this is the way the industry is moving.”
Denney says two of the more popular models, the Chevy Bolt and the Chevy Volt will be available through Today’s Power and McLarty. Volt is the hybrid model, and the Bolt is the all-electric battery vehicle Chevy offers.
According to Denney, the average person drives about 12,000 miles a year and could see a savings of $800 to $1,000 a year on fuel. Maintenance costs would also be reduced because there are 20,000 less parts in an electric vehicle than typical internal combustion engine. There’s also the added bonus of no oil changes. The main reason to take an electric vehicle to a shop is for a tire rotation.
“I want to increase the adoption of EVs in Arkansas,” says Denney. “EVs stimulate the economy because it puts money back in the pockets of Arkansans, and a cleaner environment is good for all citizens of Arkansas whether they’re driving or not. The more people that are driving EVs creates cleaner air and lowers health insurance rates because people are just getting healthier and healthier with less greenhouse emissions produced by combustion engines.”