//// Clean Charge Network Celebrates Big Milestone
When KCP&L launched the Clean Charge Network in 2015, its goal was to transform the Kansas City region into a hotspot for electric vehicles.
As the network marks its two-year anniversary, it’s also celebrating the accomplishment of that goal: Kansas City now has the highest growth of electric vehicle (EV) adoption in the United States.
According to 2016 fourth-quarter numbers released by IHS Automotive and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Kansas City tops the nation in electric vehicle growth, over cities like Las Vegas, Denver and Miami. Since deployment of the network began in 2015, the metropolitan area has experienced a 95 percent increase in electric vehicle adoption. In addition, Kansas City was awarded number one in driver and charging station growth by ChargePoint, a manufacturer of EV charging stations, in 2016.
“The Clean Charge Network provided the necessary charging infrastructure for drivers, but also made Kansas City the gold standard for electric transportation,” said Chuck Caisley, KCP&L’s vice president for marketing and public affairs.
Part of KCP&L’s efforts have focused on demystifying the idea of driving electric. Jeff Beeson, KCP&L’s marketing manager for the Clean Charge Network, points to the extensive support from EV drivers as a significant asset. “The EV community is accessible and supportive,” he said. “We have drivers volunteering at events, spreading the word on social media and even offering up rides in their personal vehicles. It makes a huge difference in spreading the EV message.”
The KCP&L Clean Charge Network is one of the nation’s largest electric car charging networks and the first major network implemented by a public utility. Nearly 90 percent of the planned 1,000 public charging stations have now been installed throughout the Kansas City metro area, with more deployed every day. The network has offered free charging to EV drivers since its debut.
//// Meet an EV Driver: Colleen Gerke
Colleen Gerke sees so much potential in the electric vehicle industry she’s extended her personal commitment to her business.
She initially sought out an electric vehicle because of the potential environmental benefits — a topic that’s important to her as an owner of Missouri’s first green winery. She’s since added two charging stations in the winery’s parking lot to welcome other EV drivers.
Living in a rural area, Coleen had some initial anxiety about making the switch. But the transition has been smooth and pleasant. “Most of the time I can make all my daily trips without needing to charge. And if I do need a boost, it’s so easy since we have so many chargers around the metro area,” she said. “There really isn’t a trip I can’t make around the area!”
She’s made good use of her EV, putting 6,500 miles on it in the first five months. It’s not uncommon for her to use her EV for various errands during the day (opportunity charging along the way), then spend the evening chauffeuring her kids to various activities. It helps that she loves the experience of driving electric. “It’s amazing how peaceful it is to drive without the noise and vibration of a combustible engine. The engine doesn’t jerk or shift as you accelerate,” she said.
She’s also found driving electric an economical choice, with new models available for around $16,000 after tax credits and used models at even lower prices. “You’re not going to find a lot of ICE (internal combustion engine) cars in that price range, especially one with bells and whistles,” Coleen said. Her 2013 LEAF SL has heated leather seats, a heated steering wheel and a big screen navigation system.
“If you live in the Kansas City, it’s a no-brainer to drive electric,” she said. “There are charging stations everywhere. We’ve calculated the numbers — it costs us about $2.32 to go 100 miles. That’s hard to beat.”
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//// Upcoming EVents and Activities
We’re always out and about spreading the word about EVs. Mark your calendars for these upcoming EVents.
Prairie Village Earth Fair: April 15 at Shawnee Mission East High School
Electric vehicles will be a big focus at the show, with both the KCP&L Clean Charge Network and EV drivers coming out in full force.
Earth Day Festival: April 22 at Jowler Creek Winery
Celebrate Earth Day with a self-guided eco-trail tour, live music and free wine tastings for electric vehicle drivers. Charging stations are available at the venue.
KCP&L Clean Charge Network Futures Panel and Happy Hour: May 4 at MTH Theater, Crown Center
Join us for some drinks, appetizers and camaraderie with fellow EV enthusiasts. Then listen to a panel of national experts talk about the future of electric vehicles, from technology and sustainability to the inevitability of the EV revolution. And make sure the EV drivers you know are signed up for the Network so they can join in the fun. RSVP here today!