‘Drive Electric Alabama’ campaign promotes EVs

‘Drive Electric Alabama’ campaign promotes EVs

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

The state this week launched Drive Electric Alabama, an electric vehicle education and marketing program.

“As automakers make significant investments in electric vehicles, we know more and more motorists will consider purchasing one,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a written statement. “In addition, automobile manufacturing is one of Alabama’s key industries, and we want to make sure that this economic engine remains vibrant for Alabama’s workers.”

According to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, which is leading the education effort, the campaign will include television, radio and digital advertising, as well as billboards and events aimed at increasing Alabamians’ awareness surrounding EV technology, affordability, charging and other related topics.

“It’s clear electric vehicles represent the next generation of automobile manufacturing,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “That’s precisely why this is the perfect time for Alabamians to learn about electric vehicles, as many auto manufacturers, including Mercedes-Benz right here in our state, are beginning to add electric vehicles to their fleets.”

The inaugural marketing campaign, known as “Electric Gets You There,” stresses the cost savings associated with electric vehicles as well as EVs’ functionality.

There are more 5,000 electric vehicles currently registered to Alabamians. Just a few years ago there were less than 2,000, Alabama Daily News previously reported.  Growing use has increased the demand for EV charging infrastructure and ADECA is developing a statewide infrastructure plan.

Electric vehicles are becoming a larger part of the state’s auto industry.

  • Mercedes-Benz in 2017 announced a $1 billion, 600-job expansion that includes all-electric vehicle production and a state-of-the-art battery factory in Bibb County. Mercedes plans to go all electric by 2030;
  • In 2018, New Flyer in Anniston completed a $25 million upgrade to its battery-electric bus facility;
  • DURA Automotive Systems announced an investment of $59 million in August 2020  to open a manufacturing facility in Muscle Shoals designed to produce battery trays for electric vehicles;
  • Hyundai announced earlier this year plans to build electric vehicles at its Montgomery site and a $7.4 billion US investment in new technologies and production upgrades;
  • Honda Motor Co., which has a plant in Lincoln, Ala., said this year it would phase out gas-powered cars by 2040;
  • In June, the state announced a first-of-its-kind advanced graphite processing plant in Coosa County that will help with the production of an essential material in batteries that power electric vehicles, electronics and other green energy products.

Also, the recently passed federal Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act is expected to allocate about $79 million for the expansion of electric vehicle charging networks in Alabama.

Supporters of the Drive Electric Alabama campaign include Alabama Power, the Energy Institute of Alabama, the Alabama State Department of Commerce, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Alabama Transportation Institute and the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition.

“Automobile manufacturers have announced billions of dollars in investments in EVs in the last year, but most Alabama motorists have questions about how far EVs can travel on a single charge, how often and where EVs are charged, and how much money is saved by switching from gasoline to electric,” said Michael Staley, president of the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition. “These are questions Drive Electric Alabama and the ‘Electric Gets You There’ campaign can help answer and begin to normalize this transition from gas to electric for many Alabamians.”