A charging point corridor is being planned in Alaska as the number of electric vehicles grows

A charging point corridor is being planned in Alaska as the number of electric vehicles grows

By summer, a string of quick-charging stations for the electric vehicles will be installed along with Alaska’s highway system, as part of an attempt to prepare the state’s highways for a more electrified future. The network is being built out by the Alaska Energy Authority, which is a state organization, between Homer and Seward on Kenai Peninsula to Healy in the south of Fairbanks. The trip takes a day for automobiles with internal combustion engines (ICE), but due to a scarcity of charging stations, it is typically not a choice for electric car owners.

The charging channel will be funded with $1 million from the settlement of the Volkswagen emissions scandal. Three Bears Alaska, for example, will house the charging points and give $500,000. According to observers, the chargers will assist Alaska in better promoting electric vehicles, which aren’t frequently used in the state due to worries about variables such as cold-weather performance.

Drivers of electric cars claim that while the cars lose certain power in the cold, they are still cheaper to run and have other advantages, such as lowering pollutants. In recent years, the proportion of electric cars in Alaska has increased dramatically. Many people predict that the trend would continue as automakers move their production emphasis to electric vehicles.

“In a sense, it’s the wave of the future,” said Curtis Thayer, who works as the Alaska Energy Authority’s head. “And if we can help encourage it by providing a safety buffer in terms of billing, that’s exactly what we want to do.”

From Homer to Fairbanks

According to energy authority officials, with nine stations spaced by less than 100 miles, travelers are going to be able to commute from the Kenai Peninsula to the Fairbanks area without worrying about losing power. In September, AJ’s OldTown Steakhouse and Tavern in Homer installed the first station. It presently offers free power. Officials say the remaining stations will be installed by the mid-next year and will not be free.

According to electric car owners, the new locations will let electric vehicles add considerable power in thirty minutes to an hour. That’s preferable to the hours-long lines at slow-charging locations, which are mostly concentrated in urban places like Anchorage. Electric car drivers believe the state initiatives are a solid start.

“It’s a big deal because we didn’t have anything last year,” said Dimitri Shein, the president of the Alaska Electric Vehicle Association and a Tesla driver. Unrelated to the governmental effort, some utilities and businesses are adding extra fast-charging facilities in Southcentral Alaska.

In Cantwell, over two hours south of Fairbanks, ReCharge Alaska, which is an Anchorage company, erected a fast charger this fall. It’s currently being repaired after being knocked out by a power surge. It is going to be back up and running shortly, according to Kris Hall, who owns ReCharge with his wife Sara. Others will be installed to support additional electric vehicles in Alaska, according to the business. “If you build it, people will come,” Hall said.

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