Electric Vehicles are Getting Closer to Having Their Moment in St. Louis

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Courtesy of Joe Lamie of Fox 2 News

A small part of current renovations at the Missouri Botanical Garden is a sign of big change for St. Louis and there are more signs popping up all around us: charging stations for electric vehicles (EV’s).

“The renaissance for electric vehicles is here,” said David Gralike, President of Guarantee Electrical Company. “One good example is a project close to here: Missouri Botanical Garden. There (are) one or two chargers that are there now but we’re adding 4 more.”

A charging station behind the IBEW union hall on The Hill in South St. Louis has 4 chargers with solar panels overhead. It’s both a “proto-type” and message sender”. Over the past 10 years, the union has trained more than 400 electricians to install EV charging systems.

This idea that people in St. Louis will be charging up instead of gassing up by the thousands within the next 20 years is not simply “wishful thinking”.

It’s about to become law.

Starting next year, charging stations will be required at new construction sites in the City of St. Louis. For instance, sites with more than 50 parking spaces must have EV chargers installed in at least 2% of the spaces with infrastructure built-in for at least 5%.

Each station roughly costs $10,000, Gralike said.

Dr. Linda Little, who runs the IBEW training program, was charging her hybrid mini-van as she worked, Friday.

“We’re trying to be proactive about it and that’s why the city passed this ordinance to try to say, ‘let’s be ready’,” she said.

General Motors has just announced it will produce only electric vehicles by 2035.

Ameren is now offering incentives for installing EV charging stations, which Gralike said could make them virtually “cost neutral” within a year or two.

Find out more about the incentives at www.ameren.com/missouri/business/electric-vehicles.

“I think it’s going to be a completely different world,” he said of the transition over the next 10-20 years. “The thought of having gas stations on every corner as something that’s going to go away … that’s sometimes hard to wrap your mind around.”

“It takes us out of our comfort zone a little bit but it’s kind of a neat thing to know that we’re going to leave a better climate for our kids than what we have now,” Little said.

For more information go to www.electricalconnection.org.

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