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Electric vehicles look to charge auto industry
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Alex and Amanda Nafe own Champion Chevrolet on Sparta Street. Alex says they will likely become an electric vehicle dealership next year.

The days of the gas guzzler may be numbered.

Electric cars are moving from the rear-view mirror to the middle of the highway and commanding more attention in the automotive industry.

“GM is completely committed to it,” said Champion Chevrolet owner Alex Nafe. “I think GM has 25 electric models that will be out by 2025 and the vehicles we've seen are really good. We’ll probably sign up to be an electric vehicle dealer next year.”

Warren County Industrial Development Board director Don Alexander returned on Friday from a statewide Economic Development Council conference in Memphis. He said the talk of the conference was the ongoing transition to electric vehicles.

“With some of the new charging stations they are developing, you can get a full charge in 15 minutes,” said Alexander. “That’s about the time it takes you to fill up. GM, Volkswagen and Nissan are all committed to it. The year a lot of people are pointing to is 2035. It’s projected 40% of all vehicles will be electric by then. We’ll be seeing fewer gas stations and more electric charging stations. But it’s projected that 80% of all charging will be done at your residence.”

As for offers taking place right now, Nafe said GM will install a Level II charging station at your home for free if you purchase an electric vehicle.

“Your car will be like your cellphone,” said Nafe. “You’ll go home and charge it every night. It will be something we get used to doing.”

Nafe said he and his wife Amanda have taken a couple of GM’s electric vehicles for a test drive and they are well-pleased by the performance.

“The acceleration and torque are pretty awesome,” said Alex. “They take off and go fast. GM is coming out with an electric Silverado and there will also be an electric Hummer.”

Ford is experiencing extreme demand for its all-electric F-150 and already has well over 100,000 pre-orders for its Lightning model. The company has not released an exact date when the 2022 Lightning pickup will hit showroom floors. The announced date is spring of 2022.

New electric vehicles are being designed with a range of about 300 miles. Electric vehicle owners can download an app to inform them about the nearest charging stations.

In terms of employment, Alexander said getting workers trained on installing and maintaining charging stations is going to be in demand in the near future. 

Alexander is in the process of working with officials at our local Tennessee College of Applied Technology to incorporate that type of training in automotive courses offered in McMinnville.

“The bigger cities like New York, L.A. and Chicago are leading the charge on this because they’re trying to reduce their smog,” said Don.