Electric vehicles are the future for the auto industry, and demand is soaring.
EVs are a greener alternative to gas or diesel vehicles. Driving an EV lets owners reduce their carbon emissions, one way you can make a personal impact on sustainability.
And OPPD customers can power their vehicles using electricity that increasingly comes from renewable sources. In 2020, OPPD served 38.4% of its retail sales from renewable energy:
However, although demand for EVs continues to grow, many people still have a lot of questions about them. In conjunction with National Drive Electric Week, here’s a look at the many ways OPPD is a driving force behind the growing adoption of EVs in Nebraska.
With its new EV guide, OPPD has made it easier than ever to learn about making the switch to electric vehicles. EV 101 explains the basics of owning and operating an EV. The EV calculator provides a personalized estimate that lets you compare vehicle models side-by-side. That can help you understand the near- and long-term costs of switching to an EV, based on your driving habits, electricity use and savings potential.
OPPD uses grant funding from the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance (NCEA) for EV educational efforts, including a pilot program called rEV at eight Nebraska schools. The program is a partnership between OPPD and the National Energy Foundation (NEF). It aims to give teachers the resources for students to learn how EVs work and how they impact the environment.
And last year, OPPD received an award of nearly $600,000 to expand the number of public charging stations in the state.
That grant comes from the Volkswagen settlement fund. The money will pay for charging stations in North Bend, Blair, Syracuse, Omaha and La Vista. Each site will be equipped with one Level 3 charger – the newest high-speed charger – as well as a Level 2 charger. Level 3 chargers can charge a vehicle in about 30 minutes; these will be the first public Level 3 chargers across OPPD’s territory.
Nebraska received $12.25 million in the settlement, administered by the Nebraska Department of Environment & Energy. Recipients must use the funds to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions.
Volkswagen agreed to a plea deal in 2017 in connection with a scheme to cheat on diesel emissions tests. The settlement included criminal penalties and civil claims.
OPPD works with partners across Nebraska to find and secure grant opportunities to bring these benefits to OPPD customers.
As more and more people and companies make the switch to electric vehicles, OPPD and other utilities are working to accommodate the impact. Charging infrastructure and electric-grid capacity will have to grow to manage the increase in EVs on the road.
OPPD is collecting data from customers who are part of its EV rebate program to help prepare to increase electric-grid capacity. The utility acquires that data via the ChargePoint charging stations that customers buy as part of the program.
OPPD also plans a managed pilot workshop in the coming years that will help prepare for future smart-charging technology, which will enable the grid to more efficiently accommodate high future EV adoption rates.
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