Space-age stories used to be a thing of fiction. I grew up watching the Jetsons and Star Trek, lost in the daydream of it all as a child. Then I saw Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the moon. Now, as the race toward space tourism quickens and folks are launched 50 miles above our atmosphere in rocket planes, I’m left in awe at how fast technology is advancing in all areas of life.
Take electric vehicles (EVs), for example.
The first car I bought in high school with my own money was a 1969 Ford Mustang. It wasn’t much of a Mustang with a 250cc straight 6-cylinder engine, but it was my Mustang. The memories made in that car with my friends – the road trips, the stories, the laughs – will last a lifetime. I always knew I wanted to buy another Mustang someday. When I learned Ford was coming out with an all-electric version, I thought, why not?
A pioneering spirit is necessary, whether stepping foot in outer space or stepping behind the wheel of a brand new EV. Currently, there are just 2,000 battery-owned EVs on Nebraska’s roadways, 290 of which reside within NPPD’s service territory. NPPD is partnering with local electric utilities and businesses throughout the state to install DC fast chargers at priority locations (like Chadron, Scottsbluff, Thedford, Ainsworth, McCook, O’Neill, St. Paul, Hebron and more) to create a charging network that helps EV drivers feel safe, connected, and confident wherever they go.
Though I’ll admit range anxiety persists for me, it didn’t prevent me from being an early adopter of new EV technology. While many Mustang traditionalists may not like the Mach-E’s crossover SUV format, I knew after plenty of research and a desire for an economic work commute (I live about an hour from the office) that it was the one for me.
All-in-all, my Mach-E experience has been lightyears different than that of my ’69 model. First off, I bought it online from the manufacturer – without even driving it first! It was daunting to say the least, made easier and much more affordable by both NPPD’s incentives for EVs and at-home charging infrastructure, as well as federal tax incentives.
While the process to acquire the vehicle was longer, as Ford manufactured it based on specific features I selected, such as premium trim features with all-wheel drive and an extended range battery, the last several months I’ve had the car have flown by, and not just because my Mustang has as much pep as the traditional models (with a lot more rear seat room).
The sheer acceleration and torque it provides make everyday driving fun. In fact, this is the first car I’ve owned that I can say is truly a pleasure to drive every time I take it out, from many perspectives. For one, I enjoy not stopping at the gas station to fill up. I charge primarily from home, which works very well for most of my travel needs, and NPPD recently created a time-of-use rate that incentivizes nighttime charging to make it even more affordable for NPPD retail customers.
I also enjoy greatly reduced operation and maintenance costs. The EV doesn’t require oil changes, and fewer moving parts require much less upkeep. I’ve already put 6,800 miles on the car, and I’d estimate I’m spending a gasoline equivalent of about $0.74 a “gallon.”
Teenage nostalgia for the Mustang aside, I’m excited about the array of new EV models set to hit the streets in the upcoming years. I think this is where we’ll begin to see much more interest in EVs, especially as light trucks and larger SUVs are introduced. Much of the pace of EV adoption will likely be driven by federal decarbonization and environmental goals that facilitate growth in electrification.
At NPPD, we encourage electrification in our customer communities, especially when it balances economical, societal and environmental needs that support decarbonization, energy efficiency, and the conscientious generation of electricity that is affordable, reliable, resilient and sustainable.
For you, buying an EV is a choice heavily driven by your own interests. Maybe you aspire to be more environmentally friendly. Maybe you want to experience otherworldly vehicle performance and the joys of driving electric. Maybe you’re an early adopter like me with a general interest in emerging technology.
Whatever the reason, if you want to learn more about EVs, I encourage you to start the conversation by reaching out to someone you know who has one. Give me a shout, if you’d like. EV owners are immensely passionate about their vehicles, and I doubt you’d have to twist too many arms to get a test drive! Watch for local events in which NPPD’s public power-owned Mach-E may make an appearance, including at this year’s Nebraska State Fair.
NPPD recently launched a new goEV website to provide you with educational materials, valuable EV-related incentives, and helpful resources to get you started on your journey. The site shows where current charging stations are located in-state, and includes a calculator that lets you compare costs between your current vehicle and your EV of choice.
See if an EV will fit your driving needs. If it feels right, take the leap into a new frontier. I don’t think you will regret it. I haven’t.
NPPD does not endorse any make or model of electric vehicle over another. This content is for informative purposes only.