September 21, 2022 - A coalition of organizations from around West Virginia recently joined forces to host Charging West Virginia’s Energy Future an electric vehicle show for the public and private luncheon for West Virginia legislators.
The event, held at the West Virginia Capitol featured a line-up of the newest models of electric vehicles and remarks from those involved, including two members of the legislature. During the event, legislators as well as the general public was invited to view and learn about the positive economic impacts of electric vehicles and discuss the state’s energy and transportation transition. Automobile dealers from the West Virginia Automobile Dealer’s Association provided eight new electric vehicles to be viewed by attendees, including the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Ford F-150 Lightning.
Haley Justice, Communications and Event Coordinator for the West Virginia Automobile Dealers Association, opened the event and welcomed guests to view the electric vehicles on site.
Setting the stage with her remarks was Karen Lasure, Energy Development Specialist, with the West Virginia Department of Energy. “The transportation sector is the second largest energy producer in the country, and we are excited about the new opportunities for alternative fuel transportation in our state. Our office has promoted alternative fuels and vehicles throughout the state for a long time. We are excited to be a part.”
Next, House Energy Chair, Delegate Bill Anderson (R-Wood), commented, “The demands for electric power keep growing and growing, and the inclusion of electric vehicles in our transportation portfolio is placing greater demands on our electricity utilization. As such, West Virginians look to the future, and they are willing to progress.”
Robert Fernatt, President of the West Virginia Electric Auto Association, added, “There are and will be challenges to overcome during this once in a century transportation transition, but opportunities will come with those challenges. I want us to make West Virginia wild, wonderful, and electric for the next generation!”
Also sharing remarks was Trina Wafle, Interim Director for Program Development and Research Services at the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium at West Virginia University. She stated, “We’ve been producing electricity with coal for a long time. West Virginia has had a legacy of utilizing electric vehicles for over 100 years due to the coal mining vehicles utilized in our mines which were electrified back in the 1910’s.”
Senator Mark Maynard (R-Wayne) also added his thoughts on the progression of electric vehicles in West Virginia, “There are twenty-one electric battery vehicles that are now on the market. By 2025 there are supposed to be eighty-eight models on the market. The electric industry that we are living in right now is pretty amazing.”
Rounding out the remarks, Haley Justice noted, “Our industry employs over 14,000 people throughout the state, and our association is very excited for the upcoming electric vehicle transition. Just think if we could welcome electric vehicle drivers with the infrastructure needed and charging stations to take them throughout our state. I can just imagine it. We hope you will join us in envisioning what that will mean for us all.”
After formal remarks, several legislators gathered to view the featured Simiens fast charging station, courtesy of DC America. GreenPower Motor Company was also in attendance as an event host, showcasing their EV Star Cab and Chassis. The EV Star Cab and Chassis serves as the foundation of GreenPower’s Type A all-electric Nano BEAST school bus. As such, the company recently began production at their new manufacturing facility in South Charleston. As part of their investment, the company began deploying their electric school buses via a pilot program in Cabell, Kanawha, and Mercer counties on September 5.
Additional co-hosts of the event included OMEGA, the Environmental Defense Fund, and Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy.
The event marks the beginning of further discussions by event hosts that will aim to advance further policy initiatives during the 2023 legislation session.