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USA: Holland’s interest in electric vehicles growing

Holland —
The advanced energy storage industry has invested heavily in Holland. But will Holland residents invest in advanced energy storage, especially electric vehicles?

Many signs say they will.

• Johnson Controls during May’s Tulip Time Festival sponsored what may have well been the nation’s first parade where all vehicles towing parade floats were hybrid or electric.

• Area electricians are learning to install chargers in people’s garages.

• Electric vehicles are on-site at three different area car dealerships.

• And while the number of electric vehicle users in the Holland area is unknown, use of electric vehicle charging stations has ramped up over the first year they’ve been installed.

Visual local support of industry will continue to be important, said Holland Mayor Kurt Dykstra.

“Our commitment as a city and community to this emerging industry is more like a marathon than a sprint,” he said. “No one expects transformation overnight. But we know that, in time, our investments in this emerging battery technology and the infrastructure that supports it will pay great dividends.”

Charging station use charges ahead
In the year since the first electric vehicle charging stations went up in Holland, electric vehicles charged for 761 hours, according to the Holland Board of Public Works.

While that may not seem like much, a month-to-month graph shows a healthy curve upward in its usage. More than 200 of the 761 hours were logged from the start of April and through the second week of May in 2012.

Nick Grigsby, a master electrician with a Mr. Electric franchise based in Allegan, recently underwent safety training to learn how to install electric vehicle chargers in car dealerships and residents’ garages.

“There hasn’t been a lot of standardization (of how charging stations are installed) until now, and that’s the big push,” Grigsby said. Mr. Electric is urging franchisees to get ahead of the curve. “2013 is supposed to be a very large boom, and they wanted us as a Mr. Electric franchise to be ahead of that boom.”

Mr. Electric’s corporate group is specifically optimistic about Ottawa County. The company looks at home prices to determine if there’s a market for electric vehicles in a given area, Grigsby said.

“I think your demographic here fits the electric vehicle,” he said.


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