Drive Electric Minnesota is a partnership of local and state government, utilities, private business and nonprofit entities working in collaboration to bring electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in charging infrastructure to Minnesota. Our goals include encouraging use of EVs and establishing a charging station infrastructure through public-private partnerships, financial incentives, education, technical support and public policy.
Our members have created more than 120 plug-in charging sites for EVs at prime locations including: the Minneapolis St. Paul International airport, University of Minnesota, downtown St. Paul and the Saint Paul RiverCentre, near Target Field in Minneapolis, the Union Depot, Holiday Inn & Suites in Duluth, Riverland Community College in Albert Lea, Ramsey County’s Maplewood and Roseville libraries, and the Hennepin County Central Library. Many plug-in charging stations are located in the Energy Innovation Corridor adjacent to the Green Line that will connect the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Through our Zero Emissions Charging Challenge program we have a goal to power most of the public charging stations with renewable energy through WindSource® or solar. Currently there are five public charging station locations powered with solar energy.
Leading the way, our partners at the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Hennepin County, Metropolitan Airport Commission, Ramsey County, State of Minnesota and Xcel Energy have purchased all-electric Ford Transit Connect vehicles. In addition, Chevy Volts have been added to Dakota County, city of St. Paul and a number of state agency fleets. Hennepin County and the city of Edina are using Nissan Leaf full electric vehicles in their fleets.
By incorporating EVs in their fleets, they are testing and evaluating the EV’s operational performance, with special consideration toward Minnesota’s extreme climate conditions as businesses and residents contemplate purchasing EVs of their own.
Why Drive an Electric Vehicle?
More than a third of all Minnesota’s air pollutant emissions come from cars and trucks. EVs have zero emissions from the tailpipe and if the electricity to charge an EV comes from 100 percent solar or wind power, there is no air pollution created during the generation of the electricity or during the EV’s use. EVs can be part of solving some of our air pollution problems.
- Efficient: An electric motor is more efficient than a combustion engine, and therefore less expensive to operate. Typically it costs two to three cents per mile for electricity to power an EV.
- Simple: Electric motors have fewer moving parts than a gasoline engine, which means less maintenance. For example, EVs do not have transmissions or require oil and coolant changes.
- Quiet: An electric motor is very quiet when running and silent when not in motion.
- Locally-generated renewable energy: Electricity can be produced in many ways, some of them right at your home. EV owners who charge EV batteries with a household solar system or who participate in a voluntary green energy program, like Windsource®, drive an emissions-free vehicle.
- Energy Independence: EVs reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels.