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Tuskegee charged up about electric vehicles

Electric cars have been talked about for more than a decade and they are growing more popular.

President Biden announced in August a target that by 2030, half of the vehicles sold in the United States will be battery electric, fuel-cell electric or plug-in hybrids.

While the state’s larger cities have been adapting to meet the coming demand with charging stations, some of the smaller municipalities have been unable to join the trend.

However, Tuskegee is embracing the change.

Capital Journal’s Randy Scott recently interviewed Mayor Tony Haygood about the city’s adoption of electric vehicles.

“Tuskegee fortunately has been involved in a lot of history; and we like to be out front on anything that is developing,” Haygood said. “Technology and research something like this is something that we want to be out front on.

“Tuskegee is a small community, but we have a lot of great things happening.”

Haygood said that the city is looking forward to new industry coming.

“I just got back from South Korea the week before last,” he said. “Looking forward to developing a new diecast aluminum parts for Hyundai and Kia.”

Haygood said that the city still gets visitors at Moton Field, now a national historic site, for the “Tuskegee Airmen and what they contributed in the military in World War II and the outstanding job that they did.”

The state of Alabama is working to accommodate the increased adoption of EVs. In August, the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs announced $1.2 million in state grants to build EV charging stations. That’s the third straight year ADECA has awarded EV infrastructure grants in a program that’s now invested more than $7.5 million to increase the number of publicly available charging stations.

Alabama companies have taken notice of the growing popularity of EVs. Alabama Power, for instance, offers an discounting overnight rate for EV owners from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., as well as a $500 rebate for EV owners who install a Level 2 charger at home.

Haygood hopes to get funding for charging stations in aid from the federal and state governments.

“What we want to do is put some charging stations downtown,” Haygood said. “We want to work with the (Tuskegee University) campus – to put them on campus.

“We had a demonstration on the campus about three or four years ago right before COVID and they brought examples of electric cars there to test them to promote them. They brought them on the campus for students to see especially engineering students.”

Haygood said Tuskegee already has electric cars on the roads driven by residents and students.

“They are very, very quiet. You notice it when they pass by you,” Haygood sad. “They are very fast as I said. They are very nicely designed.”

There are already some charging stations coming in at the I-85 exit.

“Being at Exit 38, we are opening a travel center soon,” Haygood said. “We have already put in three or four charging stations there. We welcome the new technology.”

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