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How electric vehicles could change Ohio’s power grid

How electric vehicles could change Ohio’s power grid

This summer, Bricker & Eckler LLP will plant an electric vehicle charging station next to its historic building on Capitol Square.

As far as its leaders can tell, it’s the first law firm in Ohio to do so, and Frank Merrill, chair of the law firm’s energy practice, thinks it’ll bring some more weight to the conversation. The firm wants to make the charging station, which is just across the street from Capital Square, usable to employees, customers, and even the public at times.

“This is the future, this is where it’s going and you have to be there before it gets there,” he told a group of energy industry experts at an energy forum Thursday morning at the law firm’s headquarters. “It’s EVs, charging and renewable energy.”

Smart Columbus projects the number of electric vehicles in Columbus is up 121% over two years, beating the averages in both the U.S. and the Midwest overall. The state now has an estimated 14,000 electric vehicles, including around 4,000 in Columbus and 2,000 in Cleveland, said Mark Patton, Vice President of Smart Cities at the Columbus Partnership.

Last year, AEP launched a rebate program as part of a $21.1 million Smart City rider intended to fund installation of 375 EV charging stations, and more have popped up in the parking garages, residential areas and public parking around Central Ohio. Bricker’s will be one of the stations to benefit from this rebate. Public sector use among the city, county and Central Ohio Transit Authority has followed.

With the projected growth of electric vehicle use, there’s larger implications for the energy grid overall, said David Schatz, director of public policy at electric vehicle infrastructure company ChargePoint Inc.

“Private investment has driven this market,” he said. “A few years ago this was a ‘nice to have’ amenity, I think a lot of new developments say they have to have this if people want to live here.”

While more of the “fast-charging” stations have been installed that can refill a battery in 15 to 45 minutes, less expensive stations take hours, meaning people can charge them overnight, pushing energy use off the peak daytime hours.

It means a new kind of thinking away from the typical gas station too, he said. But the benefit to the new cars is they can provide data on where they go, so the infrastructure and charging stations can be developed around their use more closely.

Efforts at the statehouse have followed. Last month, state Reps. Kent Smith, D-Eucid, and Casey Weinstein, (D-Hudson, introduced House Bill 202, which calls for an infrastructure study committee tasked with studying the growth of the business. Smith said he hopes it will lead to better awareness of how the government can incentivize electric vehicle adoption and reduce legal hurdles.

And, Patton said, parking garages, homes and other developments that aren’t pre-wired for the eventual installation of charging stations often cost 10 times as much to wire after-the-fact.

“Ohio needs to be able to fuel its future on the electric vehicle economy or we’re going to be left in the smog age,” Smith said.

Bricker & Eckler says it plans to install a charging station for electric vehicles at its Capitol Square office – the first Ohio law firm to do so.

Source:  Columbus Dispatch

By:  Tristan Navera – Staff reporter, Columbus Business First
May 9, 2019, 2:40pm EDT

LINK:  https://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2019/05/09/how-electric-vehicles-could-change-ohios-power.html

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GM in talks to sell Lordstown to Workhorse for EV pickups while adding jobs elsewhere

It’s a busy day in Ohio.

The last Chevy Cruze to roll off the line came from Lordstown on March 6.

General Motors

When General Motors in November announced a Thanos snap’s worth of vehicle cuts, plant idles and layoffs, there were a lot of unanswered questions. This week, GM seeks to provide at least some closure with news of a potential sale and the addition of jobs in an area that was affected by The Decimation.

General Motors announced on Wednesday that it is in talks to sell its Lordstown Complex in Ohio. GM is currently discussing the idea with Workhorse Group, a company that has supplied green vehicles to UPS and hopes to offer even more electrified work vehicles in the future. But the complex wouldn’t be sold directly to Workhorse, per se — instead, Workhorse’s founder is leading an independent entity that would purchase the facility, with Workhorse commanding a minority interest in said business entity.

So, what’ll be built there? According to Steve Burns, Workhorse’s founder, it’ll be new, electric and a truck: “The first vehicle we would plan to build if we were to purchase the Lordstown Complex would be a commercial electric pickup, blending Workhorse’s technology with Lordstown’s manufacturing expertise,” Burns said in a statement. GM’s statement says the facility could start being converted to produce Workhorse vehicles as soon as all parties come to an agreement, which has not been finalized as of this writing.

In 2018, Workhorse and UPS announced that the manufacturer would supply UPS with 50 plug-in hybrid delivery vans. Workhorse has also unveiled the W-15 electric pickup, which it brought to CES 2018, toting a gasoline range extender that aims to minimize charging downtime on the job. It’s also unveiled the N-Gen, a last-mile electric delivery van that packs an optional delivery drone.

At the same time, GM said it was investing approximately $700 million in its other Ohio manufacturing facilities, which the automaker said should create about 450 new manufacturing jobs. The DMAX facility in Moraine will start building more diesel engines for next-gen heavy-duty pickups, the Toledo Transmission plant will boost production of GM’s 10-speed automatic transmission and its Parma Metal Center will increase stamped-part production. The automaker noted that hourly employees at unallocated plants (like Lordstown) can request a transfer to one of these new jobs, and that more than 1,350 employees have already taken transfers to other plants with union representation.

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