Motorists are hitting the road this summer and an increasing number of them are driving electric vehicles and hybrids. With the need to be more energy efficient, charging station are springing up throughout the Texoma region.
While free public charging stations are available at Bob Utter Ford in Sherman and Classic of Texoma Nissan in Denison, area gas stations have also begun offering charging stations pump side.
With the Fourth of July holiday and the weekend being a busy time for Douglass Distributing, CEO Brad Douglass said while his primary business revolves around fossil fuels, his company also provides electric charging, at no cost to the customer, at the gas station located at 2920 N Sam Rayburn Freeway in Sherman.
There are two levels of charging capabilities: level one, or 110 volt, and level two, or 220 volt. Douglass said the charging station does not offer 440 volt, which is what Tesla cars use. Those are the high voltage, fast charging stations.
But with the new development coming to the area, the need for more charging stations has been a thought for area fuel companies.
Douglass said the number of electric vehicles sold in the U.S. is steadily on the rise, and to adapt to the changing market, he said the Douglass location currently under construction at the corner of F.M. 1417 and U.S. Highway 75 will feature more charging stations.
“Consumers will be able to stop and start charging their car, then go into the movie grill and get a couple of hour of charge,” Douglass said.
With this type of charging station, Douglass warns that it is important for consumers to know their vehicle. Since all of his company’s fueling dispensers are self service and there aren’t any current universal standards when it comes to plugging in. It is on the customer to know when his or her vehicle is fully charged.
Douglass also said fortunately with modern technology, it isn’t too difficult to learn how to use a charging station. Douglass stations are Charge Point stations which use a nationwide network to identify the stations near the driver. The driver just needs an app on his or her car or phone and it will tell the driver to the closest station. The app will also provide the stations availability and cost, if there is one.
The thing to keep in mind is the connectors, Douglass said. Since it is still a relatively new industry, there are a lot of proprietary connectors. The Chevy Volt will not use the same type of connector as a Nissan or a Tesla.
As of right now there is no universal connector but Douglass expects that will come eventually.
“We are seeing more EVs on the roads,” he said. “When you take a look at last year, there are record numbers on the roads. Now as far as new vehicle sales goes, it is still a small percentage of the total.”
Douglass went on to give advice to potential electric vehicle car purchasers saying as far as driving in inclement weather goes, there isn’t a danger to the driver as the vehicles are well constructed and can be driven during rainfall which is good for this area during this time of the year when we are experiencing a lot of summer showers.
Douglass said the only major concern is in an instance of a wreck or fire when the clean up procedure for handling an electric vehicle is different due to safety concerns over electric shock.
Have you ever considered purchasing an electric vehicle? What would be your major concerns? Let reporter Richard A. Todd know at RTodd@HeraldDemocrat.com.