by General Manager Steve Stroshane
Regional charging network will help alleviate range anxiety, encourage EV adoption
Polk-Burnett is one of 31 electric cooperatives that have come together to form a regional EV charging network across Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. CHARGE EV, LLC, was created to help co-op members with the adoption of electric vehicles in rural communities. While we don't expect transportation to change overnight, we created the charging network to help prepare for future growth in EV use. We want to be a trusted resource for members considering an EV.
EVs have environmental advantages and can help members save money through reduced fuel and maintenance costs. Moving from gas to electricity reduces pollution, and the benefit improves as the electric grid gets greener. We support EV owners and look forward to working with members to charge your e-vehicles in the most cost-effective way. Please call us before installing an EV charger at your home.
Currently, we are aware of 36 EVs plugged into our system for residential charging, and our service territory has a handful of Level 2 public chargers, including one powered by Polk-Burnett at Marketplace on Hwy. 8 in St. Croix Falls. To find public chargers, see PlugShare map on polkburnett.com/e-vehicles.
We know that range anxiety is a concern that some of you may have about driving an EV. Our efforts with CHARGE EV will help alleviate that fear by investing in charging stations and helping our members with residential chargers. Presently, the CHARGE EV network includes more than 30 Level 2 and Level 3 charging stations, with more on the way.
Investing in the future with ZEF Energy
CHARGE EV cooperatives recently invested in ZEF Energy Inc., an Edina, Minnesota, company that manufactures EV chargers with ZEFNET software to manage energy supply. ZEF Energy has successfully worked with electric cooperatives since 2014. The company is also working with the U.S. Department of Energy on the Michigan to Montana (M2M) project, which will install ZEF Energy chargers along the I-94 corridor.
"Cooperatives are forward thinking organizations and they recognize that EVs will play a big part of their future," said ZEF Energy CEO Matthew Blackler.
Our regional CHARGE EV network and investment in ZEF Energy are just the start. We hope this grows into a national co-op EV brand and charging network.
"Our goal is to provide EV owners with peace of mind when driving between Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois, knowing that there are co-op powered chargers along your route. That will give people confidence to consider an EV and encourage growth of electric vehicles," said Jeff Springer, manager of innovation and efficient electrification at Dairyland Power Cooperative, our G&T power supplier.
Watch for updates about Polk-Burnett's participation in CHARGE EV, as well as rebates and incentives for residential charging, and new public charging stations across the region.