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Sioux Falls electric vehicle demo and show is a chance to see, feel and experience range of EVs and devices

Several utilities and city of Sioux Falls hosting event on Sept. 29 at W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds. The event will include an array of car models as well as bikes, motorcycles and lawncare equipment.

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Sioux Valley Electric's Nissan Leaf, nicknamed EVie, charging at the cooperative's Brandon office.
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — You can go electric.

That’s what the organizers of the Go Electric EV Ride and Drive and Electric Vehicle Show want you to take away from the event on Thursday, Sept. 29, at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds.

The demo and show is a chance for drivers to see and feel the electric vehicle experience. It runs from 4 to 7 p.m.

Sponsored by several regional utilities and the City of Sioux Falls, the event will feature a variety of EVs from dealers and car clubs. There will be opportunities for test drives and to learn more about programs to encourage more widespread use of non-gas-powered transportation.

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Holly Meier, sustainability coordinator for the City of Sioux Falls
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“It’s a really great opportunity for the public to learn more about EVs,” said Holly Meier, the sustainability coordinator for the city of Sioux Falls.

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In addition to cars, the show will feature other modes of transport, such as bikes, golf carts and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, as well as lawn and garden devices. There will also be food trucks available and other activities.

Sioux Valley Electric, based in Colman, held a similar event last year at their Brandon offices. The member-owned cooperative brought additional partners this year, including Sioux Valley Energy, East River Electric, Southeastern Electric and Xcel Energy.

The move toward EVs and renewable energy is member driven, said Ben Pierson, the manager of beneficial electrification.

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Ben Pierson, manager of beneficial electrification for Sioux Valley Energy, based in Colman, S.D.<br/><br/>
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“As an electric co-op we have an obligation to serve any electric load,” Pierson said. “This is another electric load our customers have questions about.”

Answering those questions includes what electric vehicles can do and what they cannot. While there are innovations coming constantly, there are still limitations. The battery charge doesn’t last as long in extreme cold or heat, for instance. And there is still a dearth of high-speed charging stations in the area.

That is changing, however, as the federal government is giving states money to build out the network along main transportation corridors, which in the Upper Midwest is the interstate highway system.

Combine solar panels with an electric car and driving gets less expensive. The numbers are still low the region but new infrastructure and incentives making it more attractive.

The requirement is that there is a fast-charging station every 50 miles or less along the interstates. There is currently just one charger that meets the standard in South Dakota. The DOT estimates that a minimum of 13 stations will be needed.

“Connecting to a national network of chargers will continue to support the state economy by supporting visitors to the state from across the nation,” according to the South Dakota DOT. “Given the expected growth of EVs manufactured by national automakers, the adoption of EVs is anticipated to increase.”

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For Sioux Valley Electric, the event in Sioux Falls and other efforts, are intended to help people find what works best for them, and the power providers.

For instance, the coop has a program that encourages users to charge their vehicles between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. The energy cost is about half what it would be during other hours of the day and it puts less strain on the system.

“It’s a new thing that people are curious about and want to learn about. We try to help that,” said Pierson. “EVs are not right for everyone.”

Related Topics: SIOUX FALLS
Patrick Lalley is the engagement editor and reporter for the Forum News Service in Sioux Falls. Reach him at plalley@forumcomm.com.
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