//// Fast Charging Stations Crop Up along I-70
Range anxiety is a thing of the past in the Kansas City metro area, thanks to the 1,000+ electric vehicle charging stations popping up as part of the KCP&L Clean Charge Network.
But for EV drivers thinking about a road trip out of the region, planning where to charge up has been an ongoing issue.
But now, EV drivers will have more options along Interstate 70 in Missouri. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) and KCP&L have teamed up on a pilot project to electrify I-70.
The project will add several fast charging stations along the I-70 corridor, with EV charging islands conveniently located right off the highway in communities across the state. Location planning is currently underway, with a comprehensive plan launching later this year.
“In an effort to truly embrace 21st century vehicular fueling alternatives…we would welcome and fully enable electric vehicles along the corridor,” said Tom Blair, leader of MoDOT’s Road to Tomorrow program, at a recent press event.
1-70 is the nation’s oldest interstate highway, part of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System. Started in 1956, the system’s 41,000 miles of interstate highway was a wonder. MODOT’s program seeks to see I-70 reborn through innovation and technology.
The program also includes a pilot program to test solar roadways panels at the Historic Route 66 Welcome Center.
//// Meet an EV Driver: Leanne Wiedemann
Driven by a desire to be more ecologically sound, Leanne Wiedemann had long considered driving electric.
So when she received a small inheritance, she dragged her husband to the Tesla dealership. The couple had shopped around for an ICE vehicle the year before, and found EVs compared very favorably. Now, Leanne is celebrating a year of EV ownership — and she’s found the experience so satisfying she’s already inspired her sister to purchase an EV of her own.
Leanne has a short commute to work and drives her EV — which she’s nicknamed Elektra — almost exclusively.
“It took me a while to get used to the regen braking, but now I find it strange to drive the ICE on the rare occasion we take it out of the garage,” she said.
She charges at home and occasionally out and about, and has enjoyed the premier location of the KCP&L Clean Charge Network charging stations at Kauffman Stadium and the Kauffman Foundation.
She thinks most drivers of ICE vehicles would be surprised by the speed and pickup an EV offers. She still hears some worries about range anxiety on road trips, but sees that diminishing as more charging stations pop up in the region and across the Midwest.
Her favorite thing about driving electric? Meeting other EV drivers, who she describes as “the coolest people on the planet.” It’s an apt description for Leanne too, as evidenced in her volunteer work for the AFS USA foreign exchange student program.
“EV families make great host families — they’re curious, encouraging and interested in making the world better,” she said. “Plus, the exchange students are always surprised and amazed to be ferried around in an EV!”
Interested in being profiled for our next issue? We’d love to hear from you.
//// Upcoming EVents and Activities
Whether you already drive an EV or are considering making the transition to electric, look out for these upcoming EV-related events.
KCP&L Clean Charge Network First Friday Happy Hour
The first Clean Charge Network Happy Hour at Tannin Wine Bar was a huge success! So we’re planning another one before First Friday on August 5; stay tuned.
Cars and Coffee at 119th and Metcalf
The Mid-America Electric Auto Association is encouraging EV drivers and enthusiasts to make an appearance at the Cars and Coffee event on July 30 from 8 to 10 a.m. at 119th and Metcalf.
We’re always looking for places to spread the word about EVs. This summer we made appearances at Middle of the Map, Boulevardia, the Prairie Village Earth Fair, Nelson-Atkins Third Thursday and a Royals game. Have a suggestion for where we might go next? Let us know.