July 29, 2021
With the use of electric vehicles on the rise, Starkville Utilities is helping ensure that local drivers and travelers have the energy they need to power their rides in the future.
Planned in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority are two electric vehicle (EV) fast-charge stations that will fuel the growth of EVs and reduce barriers to transportation electrification.
“We were one of the first in Starkville to install EV charging stations, and we’re preparing now to expand our network to meet the community’s growing need for vehicle charging capability,” said Terry Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “Investing in local charging infrastructure fits in with our Renew Principle commitment to anticipate future needs and provide customers with new products and technologies fueled by safe, reliable and affordable electricity.”
In 2019, Starkville Utilities installed level 2 charging stations in two locations — behind the Hotel Chester in downtown Starkville and outside of the Starkville Sportsplex. The city worked with Seven States Power Corporation to determine the best spots for the ChargePoint stations based on traffic patterns and local amenities. Each station has two ports that can charge two vehicles simultaneously and provide around 25 miles of range per hour.
Since then, fast-charging technology has become more widely available and economical as more drivers embrace electric transportation. TVA is working with Starkville Utilities and other power companies to fund and develop a Valley-wide EV fast-charging network that will provide a safety net and help reduce “range anxiety,” — a condition that EV drivers may experience when few or no EV charging stations are available in their communities.
Expanding fast-charging stations will enable more customers to adopt new transportation technologies that will help them save money using electric fuel and provide a more convenient charging experience for drivers in the region.
“The next 10 years are going to be transformative for transportation, and it will be important for local power companies like Starkville to meet the growing consumer demand for EV charging stations. With this project, Starkville Utilities is making sure they stay ahead of the curve,” said James Ellis, vice president of partnerships and project development for Seven States Power Corporation.
“Data shows that Starkville Utilities’ two original charging stations are being used, with usage steadily increasing,” Ellis said. “With more than 50 vehicles including pickup trucks becoming available with a plug-in option over the next couple years, we know additional charging locations will be necessary as more drivers make the switch to domestically produced electric fuel.”
The time it takes to charge an electric car varies widely and depends on the size of the battery, remaining battery power or state of charge, charging station speed and other factors. A typical electric car takes four to eight hours to fully charge from empty using level 2 charging stations. With fast-charging technology, many electric cars can receive 100 miles of range in less than 30 minutes.
With support from Seven States, Starkville Utilities engineers are conducting a traffic and EV use study to determine the best locations for fast-charging stations in Starkville. The project team plans to complete the installation within the next year.
“We’re excited about the role our electricity will play in fueling transportation,” Kemp said. “Most major vehicle manufacturers have announced plans to transition to EVs in coming years, and the nation’s electrical grid will power the transition. That’s why we’re taking steps today to ensure that our customers have the infrastructure required to support all aspects of their lives in the future, including the vehicles they drive.”
Starkville Utilities is a public utility serving 14,000 residences, businesses and industries in Starkville, Mississippi as well as Mississippi State University. Its mission is to supply safe, reliable, and cost-effective electric and water service of superior quality and value that improves the lives of its customers.
Seven States Power is an energy solutions company that serves 153 local power companies across seven states of the Tennessee Valley. Our members distribute TVA-generated electricity and provide a variety of essential services that build the economy and enhance life in their communities.
Learn more at https://www.sevenstatespower.com/about/.