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Electric vehicles gaining popularity in KC as manufacturers shift to meet demand

Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 7:27 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Manufactures and utility providers are anticipating rapid growth in the demand for electric vehicles.

There are now more than 10,000 EV drivers in the KC area, according to Evergy.

Nick Voris, the utility provider’s manager of electrification products and services, said the regional grid is well equipped to improve alongside growing demand. Evergy helped install nearly 1,000 public charging stations across the metro area several years ago.

He predicted that, over the next decade, utility companies will begin to support private charging networks and offer incentives for plugging in vehicles during off-peak hours.

“This is going to happen gradually,” he said. “It’s going to take decades. Evergy is preparing the grid alongside that transition.”

One EV resource lists Kansas City as one of the top metro areas for EV ownership, relative to its population.

Bill Johnson, who has owned a Nissan Leaf for eight years, said he rarely has trouble finding a place to plug in.

“There’s so many chargers downtown it’s ridiculous,” he said. “It’s easier for me to charge my car here than in California.”

On Thursday, Ford announced that it would add more than 1,000 jobs to its Claycomo production plant, in part to ramp up its E-Transit manufacturing.

John Savona, the company’s vice president of Americas manufacturing and labor affairs, said the company picked the KC region partly because of the growing interest in electric vehicles locally.

“We’re doing this in Kansas City because we have high demand there for both our electric and combustion vehicles,” Savona said.

Johnson has not been surprised at all by the rapid growth in EV adoption. He said his own experience with his vehicle has been worth the switch.

“It’s the way of the future,” he said.