Is Alabama ready for surge in electric vehicle use?
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Major news for electric cars. The rental car company Hertz announced plans to buy 100,000 Tesla’s in 2022.
It’s the biggest move into electric vehicles by a rental car company.
Hertz said the decision to convert to a battery powered fleet was to address customer demand.
Rental car companies had also run into trouble getting gas powered cars due to shortages fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hertz hoped to have the new fleet of electric cars on the road in the next few years and more companies were expected to turn towards electric vehicles as the industry became more accessible.
But, would Alabama be ready?
Mark Bentley, Executive Director of the Alabama Clean Fuel Coalition, said Alabama is leading the way in the Southeast.
Bentley said ongoing efforts in the state to make plugging in more accessible were helping catapult the state to the front of the pack, from the electric battery plant in Greene County, to production of battery powered cars in the state and massive installation of charging stations, he said Alabama was ready.
“It’s really phenomenal,” Bentley exclaimed.
The number of electric vehicles on Alabama roads had the state shifting to sixth gear, according to Bentley, who said a $4.2 million dollar statewide project to install charging stations was going well.
“We want to make sure we have plenty of charging stations available across the state both on interstates, U.S. highways, destination points,” Bentley explained.
Governor Ivey, awarding the millions in grant money to 18 contractors, to install charging stations along I-20/459.
At least 10 of those fast charging stations will be in Jefferson County, which had the highest number of electric vehicles in the state.
Bentley, who drove a Tesla Model Y, said he didn’t have a problem finding charging stations in the state when traveling but said there were pockets without charging options.
He said the state needed to stay competitive to make the merge from gasoline to electric run smoothly.
“We have Tesla superchargers. There are Electrify America chargers all over at Walmarts and around the state as well now. We also have individual chargers,” Bentley said. “We anticipate and look forward to additional monies coming from the state, and we’re working with our state and others to procure more monies from both the state and federal [government].
Bentley said the state hoped to have about 20% of cars on state roadways be electric by 2030.
He said, at the time this article was written, the number of electric cars being driven by Alabamians was roughly 2%.
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