Little Rock-based utility Entergy Arkansas and California nonprofit Adopt a Charger announced Monday (Jan. 25) a partnership to install up to 10 electric vehicle charging stations throughout Arkansas. All the stations will offer fee-free charging, according to a news release.
Installation work for the first station is set to start on Feb. 1 in downtown Lonoke. The station at Front Street NW and Depot Street will have four ports and is adjacent to the police department. Lonoke City Council approved the station on Dec. 14.
“Entergy Arkansas is happy to support the expansion of innovative, customer-centric technologies such as electric vehicle chargers,” said Kurt Castleberry, director of resource planning and market operations for Entergy Arkansas. “Investments like this help advance clean energy technology and sustainability for our customers, communities and all of our stakeholders.”
The goals of the new partnership, Charge Up! Arkansas, are to raise awareness of the benefits of electric vehicles and encourage ecotourism in Arkansas, the release shows. Charge Up! Arkansas is supported by a grant from Entergy Corp. Environmental Initiatives Fund. New Orleans-based Entergy is the parent company of Entergy Arkansas. Nonprofit Adopt a Charger is focused on accelerating the widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles by broadening available charging infrastructure.
Kitty Adams, executive director of Adopt a Charger, said other station locations are to be determined. Site visits have been completed at several locations including the visitor center in Eureka Springs, the LR Tech Park in downtown Little Rock and the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff. Each station will have at least two charging ports. The charging stations are Level 2 – 240 volts and provide 32 amps of power, she said. They can add about 20 miles of range per hour of charge. The idea is to install the stations at locations where motorists stay for two to three hours while their vehicle is charging.
Charging a fully depleted battery on an electric vehicle depends on its battery size. Adams said with a Level 2 charger, an older Nissan Leaf can be charged in four hours. A Chevrolet Bolt with a 200-mile range would take overnight, or between eight to 10 hours, to charge a fully depleted battery.
Also, Adams said she would work with others outside the Entergy service area to use rebate money allocated to Arkansas from the Volkswagen settlement to install electric vehicle charging stations. She noted that motorists can find charging stations by using the app, PlugShare.
Adopt a Charge also partnered with REV Brand to start an Arkansas chapter of the Electric Auto Association. The recently-formed Arkansas Electric Vehicle Association will organize an educational National Drive Electric Week event and partner with area dealerships to educate vehicle salespeople about electric vehicles.
“When people spot an EV driving down the road, they don’t automatically notice that the vehicle runs on electricity,” Adams said. “The ‘aha’ moment happens when they see the car plugged in at places they like to go, and they get to ask questions of the driver about the owner’s experience.”
Entergy’s eTech program offers customers an incentive for purchasing electric vehicle charging infrastructure, according to its website. Available incentives include commercial and residential Level 2 chargers and Level 3 fast chargers.
“Entergy recognizes that electric vehicles are an increasingly attractive private transportation option that offer key benefits to owners, such as reduced maintenance, lower fuel consumption, less noise and lower emissions,” said Kelli Dowell, director of environmental policy for Entergy. “By sharing more information about EVs with our customers through this partnership and other outreach, we’re providing sustainable value while helping improve the environment through lower emissions.”