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The Southern Joule departs for Salt Lake City

The Southern Joule departs for Salt Lake City

Article was added on Thursday, May 03, 2018

Mike Smith, vice president of business and technology strategy at state association of electric cooperatives and his son, Colin, embarked this morning on the journey in an all-electric Chevy Bolt, nicknamed the Southern Joule, as they test the practicality of cross-country electric vehicle travel in 2018. They will follow a carefully planned route that will help them make the best use of their battery power to ensure they reach essential charging stations for a boost along the way.

Although co-ops have been embracing this technology for years, electric vehicles (EVs) are growing in popularity. As more electric cooperative members purchase EVs, co-ops are committed to understanding the full spectrum of this technology. Large numbers of EVs would have an impact on electricity demand, and some chargers require special electrical connections at homes and businesses.

The Southern Joule, named after a unit of energy, joins five other teams participating in the "Drive to CONNECT EVent," as the teams travel to a national conference of electric cooperative marketing and communications employees and gain hands-on experience in EVs beyond their cooperatives' service territories.

During their journey to Salt Lake City, the Smiths will collect data for research purposes, set a baseline for the future and obtain essential knowledge that will help South Carolina's electric co-ops serve as a trusted source for EV information. They will also share real time updates across social media. The public can join the journey by following the hashtag #SouthernJoule on Twitter.

Upon their arrival, Mike and Colin will take part in Touchstone Energy's EV pre-conference workshop, where they will share their stories from the road, as well as provide thoughts on electric transportation and infrastructure with attendees.

"The idea for the EVent came from one of our members," said Mike Smith. "It is a bold endeavor that can focus more attention on the growing EV sector." 

"We will not be the first to make long distance trips in electric vehicles - Oliver Fritchle drove his EV from Nebraska to New York in 1908," said Smith.  "What is so interesting is that 110 years later, EV drivers will still face challenges, but the information we gather will help us plan for the benefit of those who follow."

How long will it take? Will there be enough charging stations? Be the first to find out by following their adventure on Twitter @SCcooperatives.

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