Establishing charge points along major highways is vital to enabling long-distance travel. Benford, who drives a Tesla Model 3, primarily charges his car at his Oakwood home for day-to-day driving, but made use of highway-side EV chargers on a recent trip to New Orleans. The Model 3 has a range of about 300 miles.
“This is the only time you really have to think about charging, the rest of the time you’re plugging in at home,” he said.
However, lack of homeownership can be a barrier to owning an electric car. Though they could install chargers at apartments, some landlords won’t.
“It’s a lot of trouble, it costs them money,” Benford said. “They probably don’t think it’s necessary. But landlords need to be prepared, if we’re going to encourage people to drive and buy EVs, the infrastructure is going to have to be built out in advance.”
Last year, several local cities began implementing their own electric vehicle chargers through Ohio Environmental Protection Agency grants, primarily in public spaces. Publicly available Level 2 chargers were funded through Ohio’s $3.25 million portion of the Volkswagen Clean Air Act violation settlement, including sites such as Austin Landing, the Dayton Art Institute, Miami Valley Hospital, the Oregon District, Caesar Creek State Park and the Rose Music Center.
AES Ohio has also made $5.1 million in electric vehicle charging rebates available for businesses, apartments, and local and state governments. Level 2 Chargers can be installed at workplaces, apartment complexes, and DC Fast Chargers must be installed in areas that are available to the public.
“Our smart grid modernization plan supports the adoption of EV charging,” said AES Ohio spokeswoman Mary Ann Kabel.
Autotrader.com reviewed the pros and cons of electric vehicles. Pros include potentially thousands of dollars in annual savings on gas, oil changes and other maintenance; a reduced carbon output; and tax credits for purchasing. Cons include how far you can drive on a charge and how long it takes to recharge; higher purchase prices for some models; and expensive battery replacement if you keep the car for a decade.
As gas prices continue to climb, Drive Electric Dayton events have been packed, Benford said, but new consumers interested in buying electric vehicles will probably have to wait. Consumer adoption of electric vehicles has been hamstrung by a shortage of computer chips. An electric car typically requires twice the number of semiconductors that a gas-powered vehicle does.
Last September, auto industry consulting firm AlixPartners predicted that 7.7 million units of vehicle production would be lost in 2021, due to this and other supply chain woes. The prediction is up from 3.9 million in May, costing the industry $210 billion globally in lost revenue.
“You’re going to have to wait until November if you ordered one today,” Benford said.
Semcorp, a Shanghai-based producer of electric vehicle battery components, plans to invest $916 million in a manufacturing plant in Sidney to make separator film for lithium-ion batteries.
“Ohio definitely needs to take the lead so we’re manufacturing and driving more EVs,” Benford said.