Infrastructure expansion for EVs

Chris Meyers
General Manager
Oklahoma Association of
Electric Cooperatives

Let’s face it: we here in the United States have become spoiled by our options for personal transportation. Since the development of Henry Ford’s ‘Model T’ in 1908, most of us have grown accustomed to driving our own car or truck. Having a vehicle gives us a personal sense of independence, driven largely by convenience: it’s easy to jump in our car, stop by the local gas station to fill up, then drive wherever we want at our leisure.

Believe it or not, prior to the Model T, electric vehicles (or EVs) were the preferred mode of travel within urbanized areas. The electric car appealed to many who lived in large cities, where charging infrastructure had developed.

That kind of extensive infrastructure development will be the next step in advancing consumer confidence in owning—and driving—a growing variety of EV models being built today.

In our June edition of Oklahoma Living magazine, you learned that there is indeed a “quiet revolution” of EVs going on across the U.S. The “rebirth” of electric powered cars has been underway for nearly a decade: since 2010, automakers have sold nearly 750,000 plug-in hybrid or battery-powered cars in the U.S., according to the Electric Drive Transportation Association. According to USA Today, the Edison Foundation for Electric Innovation predicts annual sales of EVs will increase to more than 1.2 million units by 2025, a figure that would represent about 7 percent of total vehicle sales in the U.S.

Electric cooperatives plan to be a part of this rebirth of EVs by helping build and install charging stations at convenient locations throughout their service territories. As demand for clean energy transportation methods grows, the use of electric cars and trucks will also increase.

And, just as the spread of electric utility infrastructure into rural areas helped increase convenience and productivity in the 1930s and ‘40s, electric co-ops will be willing partners in the growth and expansion of EV charging station infrastructure in the future. OKL Article End


Energy Trails: A Mission of Light

Larry Hicks
Oklahoma Association of
Electric Cooperatives

For Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives, the month of September brings anticipation. On September 16, a group of Oklahoma and Colorado co-op linemen will embark on a journey to bring first-time electricity to two Guatemalan villages: Pie del Cerro and Tierra Blanca Salinas. This project is possible through the coordination of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and its philanthropic arm, NRECA International. Located near a rainforest in the region of Ixcan, the villages sit 29 kilometers away from the Mexican border. Collectively, these communities have 100 households, five churches, two elementary schools and two health centers, all without access to electricity. Most of the households have dirt floors and slated walls. The homes will soon be wired with at least four light bulbs and two outlets. The villagers are eagerly anticipating the gift of electricity. I can imagine the anticipation of my father and the men, women and children of our communities back in the late 1930s when they learned electricity was coming. 

The men going on this trip are sacrificing a lot to help people who are less fortunate. It’s truly like taking a trip back in time as the conditions will be similar to how our families lived nearly 80 years ago. I have listened to linemen who went on last year’s project and they related how the mothers, fathers and children were grateful for the gift of light. The linemen said their experience was life-changing and that it gave them a new outlook on life. I know this year’s volunteers will feel the same way.

These men are anxious about leaving their families for three weeks, but they’re grateful for the opportunity to help their neighbors. In the Bible passage of Luke 6:37-38, Jesus speaks about our attitude toward others and that we are not to judge or condemn but to forgive and give of ourselves: “For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”      

I admire all those who are connected to this project for the sacrifice they are making to help others, those who donated to help and those who are willing to go. We all are blessed to be part of this project. May God’s protection be with those who are going. OKL Article End