WEST POINT, GA (WTVM) - The highway of the future is almost here. Several agencies and companies have come together to install the a solar-powered electric vehicle charging station in west Georgia.
Traveling from Atlanta to Montgomery wasn't always possible for most electric vehicles, but Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia and several other agencies have found a way to close the travel gap which will also benefit Troup County.
A small electric vehicle charging station is the first of its kind, the first in Georgia at a visitors or welcome center.
"If you own a electric car, you can plan your route through West Point coming up 85 on the Ray Anderson Memorial Highway. Before you couldn't do that because you didn't have a way to charge your car. Now we do," said Tim Echols of the Georgia Public Service Commission.
Several dignitaries and politicians from across the state of Georgia gathered at the visitors center in West Point for the first plug-in on a Kia Soul.
"It really works well with any electric cars. The main thing that is so beneficial is that I can charge my car in 25 minutes," said Echols.
The placement of the charging station opens up and helps to bridge a gap to and from 11 Georgia and 10 Alabama counties for travel. The new travel route will increase tourism and tax revenue in the west region. The Georgia Department of Transportation is spending millions to improve rest stations in the state.
"I want our state to be hospitable to visitors coming in. There's nothing more discouraging to visitors as they are driving on our highway to see our rest area closed because of budget problems," said Echols.
The 16-mile stretch of interstate between exit 2 in West Point and exit 18 in LaGrange is named for Ray C. Anderson, founder of the global carpet tile manufacturer Interface, Inc. Anderson is remembered as a pioneering industrialist who had an environmental epiphany in 1994, at the age of 60, and challenged Interface to become the "first name in industrial ecology."
Anderson spent the next 17 years leading his company on a journey coined as "Mission Zero," and influencing other business and industry leaders that it was both the right and the smart thing to do. You can learn more by clicking here
The foundation named in his honor was the driving force to get this Level 3 quick charge station open.
"He was committed to environment in a way that goes beyond what our highways have been. We felt that if his name was going to be on this stretched of interstate, it was crucial that we do our part in trying to make it as sustainable if not regenerative as possible," said John Lanier of Ray C. Anderson Foundation.
According to a press release by Leff and Associates: Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, The Ray C. Anderson Foundation, Georgia Department of Transportation, Georgia Department of Economic Development, and Hannah Solar, LLC have partnered to install the state's first solar-powered PV4EV (photovoltaic for electric vehicle) charging station at the state's Visitor Information Center in West Point, GA.
The innovative charging station, powered by the SpotlightTM Solar LIFT, is the first in what is imagined to be a series of technology demonstrations that will make the Ray C. Anderson Memorial Highway a model for the future.
Georgia ranks second in the nation for registered EVs, and the installation of the PV4EV is a progressive step to promote more broad adoption of EVs in the region.