Photo via Cars
The tiny town of Elk Horn, Iowa, population 650, has the highest concentration of electric vehicle charging stations in the nation: It has four of them. So how many electric cars could a small town with only a couple hundred people possibly have to warrant four charging stations? Well, four, of course. Seem like overkill? Not to me -- it seems like thinking ahead. The Wall Street Journal explains that Mike Howard, a 57-year old local business owner, brought the four charging stations to the town last year. His two businesses "test and calibrate alternative energy devices", so the chargers seem a perfect fit. Howard's businesses also own all four of the town's EVs: "We're our own best customers," Trevor Schroeter, a project manager at World Cal, one of Howard's companies, tells the WSJ. Te paper notes that the "chargers cost about $7,000 apiece, but a charge runs no more than $3."
The WSJ digs further into the appeal of the project:
While the idea of one charger per car might appear "ludicrous," says Schroeter, consider this: In the vast stretch of Interstate 80 running between Chicago and Denver, there was nowhere to charge an electric vehicle, unless you were going to bum some electricity off a stranger. Now there is. Electric charging stations can be found all over the state of California (the Bay Area alone has about 130 listings on this site), but in the Midwest, Elk Horn is an electric oasis.What's more, Howard is already working to upgrade the infrastructure for EVs across the state and in Nebraska as well -- he's hoping his work will help make electric cars more attractive to consumer by cutting into fears of range anxiety. Howard is also, of course, making an extremely forward-looking investment. The days of cheap oil are over, and we're staring down the barrel of the electric car era. When it arrives, Howard will already be in business.
Furthermore, this sort of entrepreneurial leadership is exactly what can motivate further private investment in EV infrastructure. And that's how a small town in Iowa, with the highest concentration of EV chargers in the nation, can start a big ripple ...