Electric vehicle usage increasing in Southwest Missouri

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JOPLIN, Mo. — 10 thousand gallons of gas may sound like a lot — but that’s how much hasn’t been used since electric vehicle charging stations starting plugging in in southwest Missouri.

“We get lots of questions, almost like daily we’re getting questions,” said Brenda Wansing, Mo DNR VW Trust.

But that’s changing.

It’s easier to find an electric vehicle charging station in 2021 – compared to 2017, when Liberty Utilities opened its first Four States location.

The company is now up to 53 ports in its local service region, including its first DC fast charger just off I-44 at exit 13.

“These are the only any make or model available charging stations in the area. And I think that the high usage, immediately after installing really points to a need for that in the area,” said Robin McAlester, Liberty Utilities.

In the four years since the first EV charger powered up, Liberty has supplied more than 77 thousand kilowatt hours of electricity, roughly the equivalent of 97 hundred gallons of gas.

And it’s not just Liberty.

The new DC fast charging station is one the state helped fund, hoping to create a network around the state.

Joplin is one of the first, along with Kingdom City and Bethany.

“It’s really close to coming on line. By the end of the year, we hope that all of those nine are open,” said Wansing.

The cost of powering up cost roughly the same as paying one dollar per gallon of gas.

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