Electric Cars Were the Topic for Lions Club

The Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corporation and Today’s Power are leading the charge to bring electric vehicles to Ouachita County.

Photo: Bradley Gill - Camden News

Photo: Bradley Gill - Camden News

Ouachita Electric’s General Manager Mark Cayce and Jennah Denney of Today’s Power spoke to the Camden Noon Lions Club on Wednesday about the installation of two charging stations: One will be located at Ouachita Electric’s home offices and the other will be located at the 64-room Choice Hotel currently being constructed in East Camden.

“So many of us have seen the tiny cars that look like toys that a kid might drive and that’s been a big conception of vehicles that are out right now,” Denney said. “But we are seeing more and more electric vehicles. Prices are dropping down.”

Denney also stated that electric vehicles come in different shapes and sizes in order to accommodate people’s lifestyles

- whether it be work or family vehicles.

Another common misconception, she said, is that electric vehicles lack the power of conventional combustible engines. Denney reported that some models of hybrid electric vehicles can reach zero to 60 miles per hour in 8.4 seconds.

She also mentioned that while Arkansas currently does not offer any incentives towards purchasing an electric vehicle, Federal rebates can reach as high as $7,500.

Currently, Ouachita County has no electric charging stations, and the nearest stations are located in Magnolia and Hope. But Denney said statistics show that 80 percent of charging is done at the home. She recommends purchasing a 240v “Level 2” charger, which can complete charging in around two-to-four hours. The Level 1 type of charging, Denney said, is a “slow drip” method of charging which can take up to 24 hours for a full charge. At the far end of the spectrum is DC fast charging which, according to pluginamerica.org, is “the fastest type of charging currently available. It provides up to 40 miles of range for every 10 minutes of charging.”

The stations installed in Ouachita County will be Level 2 and will be able to charge multiple vehicles at once. Denney also said that versus gasoline, electric charging typically saves anywhere from $800 to $1,200 a year on fuel costs.

Another advantage, according to Denney, is that with fewer parts - around 2,000 less than a gas vehicle - maintenance is quite a bit less. Electric cars don’t require oil changes and she said the electric vehicle at Today’s Power has only had to undergo tire rotations in the two years the company has owned the vehicle.

Cayce told the group that Ouachita Electric has ordered a Tesla model and that soon, residents of Ouachita County will have a chance to test-drive electric vehicles for themselves.

Jennah Denney