Minnkota’s Grand Forks campus was charged up Aug. 7-8, introducing local leaders and the public to the present and future potential of driving electric. The events revolved around a two-day visit from the West Fargo Public Schools (WFPS) all-electric Blue Bird school bus, purchased by the school district earlier this year.
Electric Bus or Bust
The morning of Aug. 7, Minnkota (Nodak’s wholesale power provider) invited its employees and visiting representatives to tour the electric bus, ask the mechanic questions about its capabilities and take a short ride around town. Passengers experienced the surprisingly quiet and zippy ride of the 70-seat bus, which boasts a 120-mile range and zero emissions.
That afternoon, Minnkota welcomed city leaders, economic development groups, universities and public schools, transportation officials, lawmakers and others to check out the bus themselves. They came with many insightful questions about what it takes to incorporate an electric bus into a standard fleet and walked away with new transportation ideas for their organizations and neighborhoods.
Plugged In to the Future
On Aug. 8, Minnkota’s visitor parking lot was packed with powerful plug-in cars, a battery-boosted bus and bikes, special guests and giveaways.
More than 275 people popped by the cooperative for “Plugged In to the Future” – a “Back to the Future”-inspired celebration of electric transportation co-hosted by Nodak Electric. The event was the first of its kind in the Greater Grand Forks community and drew more than a dozen electric vehicle (EV) owners from around North Dakota and Minnesota, all of them thrilled to showcase their cars and answer questions for those interested in Teslas, Chevy Bolts, plug-in hybrids and other models.
One driver from Dickinson, N.D., traveled more than 350 miles in his Tesla Model S to take part and offered rides to curious attendees.
“Plugged In to the Future” featured the WFPS all-electric school bus, electric bike demonstrations provided by Scheels and an EV ride-along experience.
For prospective EV owners, Rydell Cars was on-site with a couple of hybrids from their sales lot and details on what additional EV models are available. Information was also provided on home charging incentives and the easy steps involved in getting a garage EVready.
A Drive Electric North Dakota representative drove a Tesla Model X – aptly named WATTS – from Bismarck and chatted with event-goers about the public charging stations in the state, as well as the opportunities for growing EV adoption in the next few years.
Organizers urged attendees to fill out a survey after the event to assess what they learned about electric vehicles. Nearly 99% of respondents said they felt more knowledgeable about EVs after the event and 91% said they were now more open to owning an EV of their own.