Electric vehicle supporters cheer news of new EV charging network

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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Seven major automakers are joining forces with the hopes of drawing consumers away from gas-powered vehicles.

North American automakers like General Motors, Honda and Kia announced this week that they are spending billions to build a large electric vehicle charging network, rivaling the size and scope of Tesla.

Tom Thies from Bloomington has owned a Chevy Volt for almost 10 years now and has been happy his 30-plus-mile roundtrip to work costs him less than $1 a day, thanks to his electric vehicle.

“I think it’s great because now people can buy an electric vehicle with 260, 300-mile-range and you can go on a long-range road trip,” said Thies.

Thies was at Mall of America’s Electric Vehicle Experience Saturday, where supporters, health advocates and salespeople tout the strengths of EVs. They said the benefits go beyond just cost savings, they include the convenience of charging at home along with reduced emissions.

“With the regenerative braking, they’ve found ways to capture some of that energy and then force it back into the battery,” said Sean Denizard who works for automaker Polestar, regarding some of their vehicles’ energy-saving features.

RELATED: 4 reasons why now is a good time to buy an electric vehicle

Automakers said the new electric vehicle charging network will nearly double the number of quick-charging plugs in the US and Canada, with the goal of swaying consumers on the fence about EV.

The companies said there will be at least 30,000 plugs in urban areas and along travel corridors by 2030.

“This is great news and it’s about time that all these other automakers also get into the electric charging industry because that’s something Tesla has been doing very successfully,” said Moaz Uddin, Electric Vehicle Policy Specialist with the Great Plains Institute.

The goal of the non-profit Great Plains Institute is to transform our energy system to benefit both the economy and environment.

“The lack of charging stations causes what is known as range anxiety. If you’re making a trip that’s longer than the capacity of your battery, you do have this question, ‘Where will I stop and charge,'” said Uddin.

He is confident in the EV future.

“Now the federal government has come in and they have established guidelines and they have these goals of getting these chargers in the ground which has given confidence to the private sector and you see these investments and there will be more investments coming too,” said Uddin.

Automakers said the first of the new U.S. chargers will be ready by next summer.

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