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General Manager Steve StroshaneBy General Manager Steve Stroshane

Should your next car be an electric vehicle? EVs currently account for just 2.2% of the U.S. auto market. Research suggests that EVs could reach 10% of passenger vehicle sales globally by 2025, growing to 30% by 2030. We are watching EV trends on your behalf. An important part of our job as your electric co-op is looking out for our members and providing reliable electricity for all your needs. We're here to power your homes, farms and businesses... and even transportation if you decide an EV is right for you!

The average American drives 37 miles a day, which is more than 13,000 a year, spending about $1,240 on gas. Most EVs can go between 200 and 350 miles on a full charge. Tesla's long-range Model 3 (MSRP: $49,990) boasts 353 miles of range, which is more than enough for the average daily commute, even in rural Wisconsin.

Like gas cars, there are outside factors that affect range, such as frequent use of the heater or air conditioner. Some EVs will run a fan while parked if the internal temperature of the car gets too hot or too cold; this uses electricity and reduces range.

There are currently 10 all-electric vehicles on the market for under $40,000, and it's becoming more common to find used EVs. In 2022, two electric trucks are expected: the Rivian R1T and the Ford F-150 Lightning. I've heard that Ford has pre-orders for more than 150,000 Lightning trucks. Tesla's Cybertruck is also expected in late 2022.

About 80% of EV charging occurs at home

When an electric car is done driving for the day, you can plug it in to recharge overnight. More than 80% of EV drivers currently charge their vehicles at home, and wake up to a fully charged battery every morning, when using a Level 2 charger. There are three ways to charge an EV:

Level 1 is the most basic, where you plug the car into a standard 120-volt outlet. This is the easiest and cheapest charging solution, but it takes longer. The battery charges at a rate of two to five miles each hour.

Level 2 charging is faster and adds 10 to 25 miles of range for each hour of charging–a rate that fully charges the battery overnight. The EV is plugged into a 240-volt outlet, commonly used for larger appliances like a clothes dryer. A Level 2 charging device can also be hard wired. Either way requires professional installation. You often see public Level 2 chargers at shopping centers, restaurants and parks. Polk-Burnett offers an $800 rebate on a Level 2 smart charger, when purchased from the co-op. It can be installed in your garage and operates overnight when electricity cost and demand are low.

Level 3 DC fast chargers are located in high-traffic public areas and can bring a car battery up to 80% of capacity in 30 minutes. As EVs become more popular, you can expect to see more fast charging stations.

Some benefits of owning an EV:

• Instant torque.

• Latest driving technology, such as driver assist, emergency braking and software updates.

• No oil changes and less maintenance.

• Safety. EVs are 10 times less likely to catch fire than conventional cars and less likely to roll over.

• No carbon emissions when operating. EVs are better for the environment–even when accounting for emissions during manufacturing and when powered by electricity from coal. As more electricity comes from renewables, the fuel used to power EVs becomes cleaner.

If you are charging an EV at home, please contact us. We can help ensure your home is prepared for the additional energy demand and you charge in the most cost-effective way.

Polk-Burnett is a member of CHARGETM, a regional electric vehicle charging network that helps alleviate range anxiety and encourages EV adoption in rural communities. Currently, most large-scale charging efforts have focused on bringing EV chargers to interstate and major transportation corridors. Acting on the cooperative principle of cooperation, CHARGETM is filling the gaps by bringing EV chargers to rural highways across the Midwest, as well as to co-op member garages. Watch for our upgraded Level 3 fast charger coming to Marketplace in St. Croix Falls in 2022, and please contact us if you'd like to order a Level 2 smart charger for residential charging, 800-421-0283, ext. 595.

See our electric vehicle webpage for resources and co-op involvement.