Electric Road Trip — Week 6: EVs in the rugged Rockies and the laboratory

Electric Road Trip — Week 6: EVs in the rugged Rockies and the laboratory


Hi I’m Peter Behr with the E&E News
Electric Road Trip coming to you from Yakima Washington And I’m Marty Behr
wife and co-pilot along for the ride and a long ride it is. From Billings Montana to Seattle Washington 819 miles and three mountain passes. Each leg of the
road trip has been unique in its own way. For us has it’s been the mountains. We
carefully tracked how the range of the EV has dropped as we’ve gone up into
the passes and how some of that mileage is recovered on the way down thanks to
the regenerative braking in the vehicles and we’ve discovered it helps to have
the heater off when you’re doing that -Brrr- Well I’m thankful that
you’re a numbers lady and you’ve been able to help me with the calculations.
You mean the CARculations, sorry. We’ve had no trouble connecting along the way
with a growing number of EV owners and the growing EV infrastructure even in a
place like Montana where people have to drive 60 miles sometimes just to get
groceries. But we recognize too that the mountains here are a real challenge for
EVs because for example in Billings we talked to a Chevy dealer and 95% of the
vehicles that they sell are trucks and SUVs because people are live here to do
the hunting and the fishing and the camping. But there is a EV culture
that’s growing we’re glad we met Bill Clem Who’s designing electric vehicle
chargers in Bozeman and with the Susan Cartensen a electric vehicle
owner and an entrepreneur who represents a community of techies that’s
growing in Bozeman and could be a fertile ground for EVs. Recently we’ve
toured the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland
Washington and there we talked with electrical engineers and scientists who
are working on the next generation of EV batteries that will have twice
the range of the cars that we are driving today. So what’s the headline
here? Well the headline is that the EV seeds are being planted in many many
ways in many places, even in the rugged Rockies. How fast they grow and how far
they grow is going to depend a lot not just on the culture and the politics and
the economies of these communities but on the geography as well. So with that we
wind it up and turn the tour over to David Ferris our Pacific Northwest
colleague who came up with the idea for this road trip in the first place,
organized it brilliantly and pull together the terrific support
team that’s back in Washington with E&E News, so David it’s over to you

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