A coalition of electric cooperatives worked together to hold the first annual Southwest MN Electric Vehicle (EV) event where rural residents were able to get a firsthand look at — and even test drive — several EV models.
The event, held Aug. 10 at the Windom Community Center, also helped raise awareness of the many benefits of EVs and allowed time for attendees to talk with EV owners about their experiences. Approximately 60 test drives were held in two hours, allowing people to see for themselves the convenience, quiet and solid ride that an EV brings.
The highly popular all-electric Ford F-150 Lighting was available for test drives, as well as the Chevy Bolt and Kia Niro. Additional EVs at the event included: Hyundai Kona, Chevy Bolts, Tesla models, and a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.
The event included a discussion panel of industry experts who shared their well-rounded knowledge and experience with EVs and included an opportunity for questions. Representatives were on hand from Brown County Rural Electric Association, Federated Rural Electric Association, Nobles Cooperative Electric, South Central Electric Association, Great River Energy and Minnesota Clean Cities.
“We were happy to host this event in southern Minnesota and show our members many EV options available today,” said Jim Haler, member services manager at South Central Electric Association. “There is a wide range of EV options, and your electric cooperative is here to help our members navigate chargers, money-saving charging rates and future technologies.”
Upcoming co-op EV events
Several other EV-focused events will be hosted by electric cooperatives across Minnesota in the coming weeks.
The annual North Country Electric Vehicle Show & Tell will be held from 4-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth. The event welcomes those who are considering an EV, already own one or are just interested in learning more about the technology.
EV models that will be available to view include the Ford F-150 Lightning, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Tesla models, Ford e-Transit work van and Volvo mini excavator.
Food trucks will serve up barbecue, nachos, kettle corn, ice cream and more for attendees, while informational tables will be staffed for the public to find out more about charging programs, rebates and at-home chargers on the market.
A panel of industry experts from Shift2Electric, Volkswagen of Duluth, Great River Energy, Minnesota Power and Talon Metals will be held as well.
“The discussion panel is ranked as the most popular and valuable part of our event,” said Greg Schulzetenberg, manager of community relations and marketing for Lake Country Power, one of the event’s hosts. “This year’s panel will be very educational as we add Talon Metals into the conversation to talk about the purpose for nickel mining, battery recycling options, and environmentally-responsible mining practices.”
Additionally, two other Great River Energy member-owner cooperatives will host their own EV events:
- Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association: 4:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, in Rockford
- Itasca-Mantrap Cooperative Electrical Association: 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, in Park Rapids