I-94 corridor promotes electric cars

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I-94 corridor promotes electric cars

January 4, 2017

Imagine zipping down the road in your new electric car but with one nagging question: Is there a charging station nearby?

Soon you won't have to worry as much.

The Interstate 94 corridor from Detroit, Mich., to the Minnesota/North Dakota state line is one of 55 routes the Federal Highway Administration has designated nationally to promote alternative fuels and help drivers find vehicle charging stations nationwide.

Spanning 35 states and covering 85,000 miles, the new network was created under the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act.

The alternative fuel corridors designation will be used to promote electric, hydrogen, propane and natural gas vehicles by encouraging development of fueling and charging stations along these routes.

Electric vehicle sales continue to grow nationally. From January through June of this year, more than 64,000 electric vehicles were sold in the U.S., setting new monthly sale records along the way.

In Minnesota, 4,112 zero-emission vehicles were sold between 2011 and 2016, according to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

In Alexandria, there is some interest in electric cars but they aren't exactly flying off the lot.

Alexandria Motors has sold three Chevrolet Volts since they debuted about six years ago.

"Our first customer who bought one was a man in his 80s, and he loves it," said Brooke Steinbring, new car manager at Alexandria Motors.

The dealership sells the Volt and another hybrid vehicle, the Cadillac ELR, but most of its customers are "die-hard truck buyers," Steinbring said.

Electric or hybrid vehicles aren't a big seller at Juettner Motors in Alexandria either.

"There is interest, but they're just not that big here because of the increased price and the inconvenience of charging them," said Bruce Wiitanen, the dealership's vice president. "Plus, we don't have a lot of stop-and-go traffic like they do in the Cities."

SOURCE:  Alexandria Echo Press

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