Eau Claire area’s first-ever EV-ready community in development
The global pandemic put the brakes on new car sales, but the electric vehicle (EV) market is pushing full speed ahead, in spite of the bump in the road. As technology improves and prices become more affordable, people are getting more comfortable with the thought of plugging in, instead of filling up, and that’s something one Wisconsin cooperative is ready to capitalize on.
“More and more members are asking questions about EVs and are joining our EV incentive programs,” Monica Obrycki, chief administrative officer of Eau Claire Energy Cooperative, told Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News.
There are currently about 1.4 million EVs on the road in the United States, but that number is expected to explode—hitting 18 million as early as 2025. Electric vehicles, according to industry experts, are the future of the auto industry, in part because environmentalists believe this is the next step to reducing emissions and addressing climate change.
According to the Department of Energy, electricity is less expensive than gasoline and EVs are more efficient than gasoline vehicles.
Eau Claire Energy Cooperative is already on board, with a Tesla Model 3 as part of the co-op fleet. Thanks to the global shift to EVs, Tesla is the most valuable automaker in U.S. history, with a market cap of $97 billion, more than Ford and General Motors combined.
Looking to prompt the transition to electric vehicles in the area, Eau Claire Electric Cooperative is partnering with Dairyland Power Cooperative and C&M Home Builders on the first-ever “EV-ready” community. Under the deal, the cooperatives are providing one level two electric vehicle charger and load control receiver for C&M Home Builders to install in each of the 44 homes in its new “Trilogy” development.
“It was a great thing to do. I liked the idea right away,” said Cody Filipczak, owner of C&M Home Builders, upon hearing the proposal. Filipczak is also in the market for an electric vehicle.
According to the co-op, they already enjoy a great partnership with C&M Home Builders, as the builder already builds all of its homes to meet Focus on Energy certifications standards. The parties have a long-standing relationship in which they have worked together to encourage participation in energy efficiency and load management programs.
“We have to protect the planet,” Filipczak says. “That’s why we already build energy efficient homes, and the electric car chargers are another great incentive.”
EVs are a global trend that has already taken off in China and Europe, and the United States is catching up. General Motors is investing $3 billion a year in development of 20 new EVs that it says will be on the market by 2023, including a Hummer SUV and a commercial van that it will roll out next year. Ford says electric versions of the F-150 truck and a Transit van will be available within two years. Volvo and Volkswagon have also underscored their commitment to the electric vehicle market.
Eau Claire Energy Cooperative’s Tesla Model 3 is featured in the virtual home tour
of C&M Home Builder’s parade home.
(Left) Adam Westaby, member services associate at Eau Claire Energy Cooperative, plugs the car in to the level two charger included in the parade home. (Below) Forty-four homes in the Trilogy home development will include EV chargers.
Finishing touches are completed in preparation for the virtual parade of homes.
Eau Claire Energy Cooperative hopes to see some of these new EVs parked in the Trilogy neighborhood sometime soon.
“We see the transportation sector as a real opportunity for us to grow electric load in a beneficial way for the environment and increase value for our members,” said Obrycki. “The chargers installed in these homes have the opportunity to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles both for our members and the entire community.”
The Trilogy neighborhood is located two miles south of Eau Claire near the corner of Highway 93 and County Road II. The first home in the development is near completion and several other homes are under construction.
Eau Claire Energy Cooperative’s Tesla and charger are featured in the virtual Parade of Homes put on by the Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association, which runs June 24 through August 16. More information about the virtual parade can be found at www.paradeofhomescv.com.