Upgrades needed in West Virginia for electric vehicle market to take charge

Harrison

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Electric cars are becoming more popular across the nation. But, as consumers begin to move away from gas powered vehicles, more people are going to need ways way to charge up their rides. This could mean costly upgrades for states like West Virginia.  

“I have great faith that in the next 10 years, there’s going to be an enormous number of folks who will move to EVs because they’re just better,” Tim Benford president, Drive Electric Dayton Chapter, said. “They’re enjoyable to drive, they’re very quiet, they don’t emit any fumes, they’re enormously fun to drive, they’re very cheap to run, they’re very, very safe.”

Infrastructure that will include seeing just as many charging stations as gas stations. President Biden is leading that effort with his plan to install 500,000 charging stations nationwide.  

“Most people think insinuations charge,” said Roy Nutter, West Virginia University professor in Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. “I drive in the gas station; I plug in I get supercharged in 15 to 20 minutes and I’m off again and that is true, when the system works. The load of that with a lot of cars not the numbers that we’re seeing yet, means a complete upgrade of infrastructure.”  

But to get more charging stations than that, means there needs to be more power plants to supply those stations. With more power plants, means more carbon emissions which is the opposite of what electric car owners want.  Experts said with the right plan those emissions won’t be a problem.   

“You can capture those emissions more easily at that one location at that big scale and you’ll never be able to capture all of the millions of vehicles on the road,” said Trina Wafle, Assistant Director of the Energy Institute and Interim Director of the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium. “So, it’s a great climate change approached, carbon management approach to move toward electric vehicles in a transportation sector.” 

But some EV owners said they still don’t need the infrastructure.  

“Personally, for me, I drive a Tesla I plug in my model three in the garage at home. So, it’s almost always charged,” Benford said. “People don’t realize until you have one that 99% of the time you do your charging at home.”

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