LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Ford’s recent announcement of a new battery plant being built in Hardin County removed any doubt from the claim that electric vehicles (EVs) are the future of transportation. EV owners are concerned that the future will arrive and the state will not be ready by not investing in critical infrastructure.
“Right now, if you’re driving an electric car in and around Kentucky,” Kentuckians for Better Transportation executive director Jennifer Kirchner said, “there are certain places where you’re not going to be able to go.”
A map published by a group of EV owners and enthusiasts called Evolve Kentucky shows the problem. There is a cluster of charging stations in Louisville Metro but few to none everywhere else in the state.
Ford building a battery plant in Hardin County with plans to step up electric vehicle production brings to light how the state’s EV infrastructure is lagging.
Observers describe current times as like the days before the first Model-T rolled off the assembly line. Back then, newly purchased cars precipitated the need for better roads and more gasoline stations. Today, the need is for charging stations.
“I think we’re really hitting it right now,” Stuart Ungar, the co-founder of Evolve KY, said. “I think it’s the beginning of exponential growth.”
Current EV owners describe a problem called “range anxiety,” the worry of taking a road trip and being unable to find a charging station to re-charge for the trip home.
“I got in a situation not too long ago where my reliable charger in Lexington was out of service for a little bit,” EV owner Andy Barber said.
Barber said it is the only reason he might miss driving his old internal combustion car.
“The range,” he said. “It was nice being able to take it and drive down to Florida and back.”
On Monday, it was with some fanfare that Louisville government officials announced the arrival of a new charging station in Jefferson Memorial Forest, the city’s most remote charging station.
“On the other side of that hill about 25 miles away, we’re going to feel the impact of those 58-hundred jobs as this technology evolves,” Metro Councilman Mark Fox (D-District 13) said. “And following Ford will be General Motors, Volkswagen behind that, and the tide rolls on.”
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