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Ford announcement sparks excitement for electric car owners in Kentucky

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 4:23 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Many people call it a game changer: the news last month that Ford planned to spend billions of dollars on electric battery plants near Elizabethtown.

It’s another strong sign auto makers are moving toward electric vehicles.

For owners of electric cars in Kentucky, the news is exciting, and offers hope, that more charging stations are coming, to support their no gas transportation.

Mike Proctor, of Richmond, hass owned electric vehicles for the last nine years.

”On a cold winter day, when I see everybody out there standing out there pumping gas, and I drive right past them knowing that my nice warm garage is my place where I’m going to refuel, I’m a happy camper,” Proctor said.

Procter recharges his electric car in his garage overnight. It cost him less than a $1,000 to have a Level 2 charger installed.

”Level 2 is the same voltage as your range or your dryer work on,” Proctor said. “So, the voltage is available in most households.”

Proctor is a member of EvolveKY, a group of about 200 electric car enthusiasts. EvolveKY has 36, free charging stations around the state.

Although tiny compared to the number of fuel powered vehicles, a growing number of Kentuckians are choosing all electric vehicles, or hybrid plugs-ins, cars that have electric and gas power.

We ran into Ken Bates at a free charging station near the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort.

”I charge here two or three times a week. Rest of time I just charge at home on the Level One charger, the one that came with the car,” said Bates.

A Level 1 charger uses 110 volts. Basically, the current in your house. It’s very convenient, but it takes much longer to fully charge a car, depending on the battery size.

A Level 2 charger, like the one Mike has, uses 240 volts, about what it takes to run your drier or washer at home. It charges your car faster. Level 2 charging stations are often in public places, and are often free.

The most powerful charging stations, Level 3, known as DC Fast Charging, can fully charge a vehicle in less then 30-minutes. However, they are not free and they can cost up to a $100,000 to build.

Tesla has its own fast charging stations on the roads.

”The thing is we’ve gotten so much more infrastructure in place so there’s a lot less of a concern,” said Emily Carpenter with the Kentucky Clean Fuels Coalition. ”So, our goal is to have a fast charger every 50-miles on all of our major highways. So, it’s a very big goal.”

So, how many charging stations Level 2 and 3 are there in Kentucky right now?

A popular App called PlugShare shows the exact location of all the charging stations across the state, both Level 2 and the fast charging stations. If you click on the station, it tells you exactly what level it is, and how much it cost, or if it’s free.

Still, charging stations are not yet on every block, and that has prompted a condition among electric car owners called “range anxiety.”

However, as newer models come out, the range of electric cars is growing, and more charging options are coming online.

LG&E and Kentucky Utilities just jumped into the electric charging station effort. They joined the Electric Highway Coalition, which is focusing on adding more charging stations.

Kentucky’s two largest utilities operate almost two dozen charging stations, and also help businesses that want to host the chargers.

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