LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Ford Motor Company’s $ 5.8 billion investment in Hardin County to build batteries for its electric vehicles is Kentucky’s latest sign that it is ready to adopt clean driving.
In Kentucky, Louisville nonprofit Evolve KY installed 82 level 2 charging stations which are free to use.
During a recent charge at the Norton Commons YMCA, Evolve KY’s Stuart Ungar said the chargers are placed in places people like to relax, such as cafes, gyms or parks.
“We installed a dual charger here that charges two cars,” Ungar said. “It was such a success that about a year later they installed another one because the first one was still full.”
The companies that sponsor these chargers pay the electricity costs in the hopes that the people who use them will bring their money inside, Ungar said. At Irish Rover on Frankfort Avenue, there is a charging station that owner Michael Riedy says is a public service.
“They charge their car, go get a cup of coffee, get a book, do something,” Reidy said. “They thank us for doing it and that’s the benefit of that.”
In a 2018 Louisville Metropolitan Government Electric Vehicle Survey, most respondents said that two main factors prevent them from buying an electric vehicle: the lack of charging infrastructure and the initial purchase price of new cars. LG&E installed 20 chargers statewide, and the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan proposes $ 7.5 billion to add charging stations across the country. Regarding the high starting price of an electric vehicle, Ungar said he hopes Ford’s new plant will lower the floor for potential drivers.
“Ford wants to sell cars and they see the future is electric,” Ungar said. “These batteries will be used not only in the Mach-E, not just in the Ford F-150 Lightning, but also in many different vehicles.”
Kelley Blue Book Vehicle Cost Tracking Shows the average cost of a new car is $ 42,258. The Metro investigation said most people would not buy electricity until it was closer to $ 20,000. To reconcile those numbers, certain new purchases of electric vehicles are eligible for a federal tax refund of $ 7,500.
Bumper Vehicle History Report Company ranked Kentucky 45th in its electric vehicle data report. Consumer advocate Richard Gargan said Ford’s investment is expected to lead to a ranking change.
“Ford’s EVs, especially the upcoming electric F-150, will likely be more convenient for you and with key parts now being built in Kentucky, it’s a great way to support local manufacturing,” Gargan said. “Ford’s investment in Kentucky is a huge vote of confidence in the state, which is important when coal jobs are down. “
This investment could be seen as a change of mind for Kentucky blue collar workers. Ford has pledged 5,000 jobs at the new plant, which is more than all coal jobs in the Commonwealth combined.
Transportation is the number one cause of greenhouse gases in America, and during the reveal event, Executive Chairman Bill Ford highlighted the dangers of climate change and said he was delighted Ford’s electric vehicles can be part of the solution.
“We have to be bold; we have to go big, and we have to do it now, ”said Ford. “That’s why we’re here today – to kick off a new era of sustainable manufacturing, to build electric vehicles and the batteries that power them on a massive scale right here in Kentucky.”
While many opponents of electric vehicle technology cite harmful mining practices as a reason to forgo the technology, Ford is teaming up with Redwood Materials to recycle used batteries for their precious metals and plans to make the facility carbon neutral when it begins production in 2025.
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