by Jeffrey Tomich, E&E News reporter

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Rivian Automotive Inc. plans to produce 50,000 electric vehicles a year and employ up to 1,000 people at its Normal, Ill., plant. Rivian

Originally published in E&E News.

NORMAL, Ill. — Wade Jensen sat in his car in the parking lot of the Mitsubishi factory in November 2015. He took a photo of the plant before pulling away for what he assumed was the last time.

The Japanese automaker months earlier announced plans to shutter the factory, its only one in North America. Jensen had spent more than half of his life there, starting as a production associate on the factory floor when it opened as a joint venture between Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Chrysler Corp. …


by David Ferris, E&E News reporter

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A four-member crew of local Tesla owners showed up for a meeting with our reporter at the Prairie Hills Mall in Dickinson, N.D. David Ferris/E&E News

Originally published in E&E News.

DICKINSON, N.D. — To understand how hardcore the Tesla community of North Dakota is, consider our first meeting.

I was in Dickinson, on the east side of the state, and was supposed to meet a lone Tesla owner named Destiny Wolf. But word got out that the Electric Road Trip was coming, and most of the town’s Tesla owners scrambled to the parking lot at Prairie Hills Mall.

When I arrived at the lot, half an hour late, they were all there in position, next to a Qdoba drive-in…


by David Ferris, E&E News reporter

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Jason Bohrer, the president and CEO of the Lignite Energy Council, pops open the door of the Tesla. David Ferris/E&E News

BISMARCK, N.D. — Today, E&E News published “This Tesla sells kids on coal,” a story about an alignment between two things that rarely jibe: coal interests and electric vehicles.

A key person in the article is Jason Bohrer, the president and CEO of the Lignite Energy Council, who I met yesterday at its office in Bismarck. He told me how the group, which represents North Dakota’s coal industry, is leading an effort to breathe life into the state’s tiny electric vehicle market.

Coal lobbyists aren’t usually gung-ho on electric vehicles. And I’m not sure…


by David Ferris, E&E News reporter

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The National Buffalo Museum in Jamestown, N.D., tells the story of the American bison under the watchful eye of the “World’s Largest Buffalo” statue. It also has one of the only electric car charging locations along the interstate. David Ferris/E&E News

Originally published in E&E News.

JAMESTOWN, N.D. — For weeks before arriving in North Dakota for the Electric Road Trip, I attempted to contact the National Buffalo Museum in Jamestown. The museum boasts not only a herd of buffalo, but one of the only electric vehicle charging stations on the interstate. I had questions.

Why had they built it? Does anyone use it? Are they glad they installed it? (Spoiler: In the end the buffalo museum taught me something else entirely.)

For an energy reporter visiting the state, my questions were important. The museum…


by Jeffrey Tomich, E&E News reporter

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Charging an electric car battery that is more than 80% full costs time and money. Our reporter added 49 miles of range at a cost of $27.13. Jeffrey Tomich/E&E News

Originally published in E&E News.

DETROIT — It’s been a full week crisscrossing the Midwest in a variety of electric vehicles: a Kia Niro, Chevrolet Bolt and BMW i3.

Like the cars, charging experiences have varied. There were free slow charges — at hotels, in downtown Toledo, Ohio, and at Indiana Dunes National Park. And more expensive ones, like at the new fast chargers in downtown Detroit.

In Detroit, I wanted to top off the Kia battery. I touched my phone to a panel on the face of the rectangular silver box, and the…


by Joel Kirkland, E&E News reporter

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Sister Molly Thompson of Sisters of Charity of Nazareth at the wheel of her Chevy Bolt. Joel Kirkland/E&E News

Originally published in E&E News.

NAZARETH, Ky. — Sister Molly Thompson is still getting used to the features of her electric Chevy Bolt. As she rolls up to a stop sign on the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth campus here, the regenerative braking brings her up short.

And then there’s the racy accelerator pedal that she secretly enjoys.

“In fact, I need to really watch it,” said the nun in her knit sweater. “I can be looking at the speedometer and, oops, what happened there?”

The 80-year-old nun, who just celebrated her birthday, is…


by Jeffrey Tomich, E&E News reporter

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A Tesla Model 3 and an older Columbus Yellow Cab side by side at the company’s taxi depot and repair shop. Joel Kirkland/E&E News

Originally published in E&E News.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Morgan Kauffman snarls at the term “disruption.”

The CEO and owner of Columbus Yellow Cab doesn’t fear Uber and Lyft, car-sharing, autonomous vehicles, scooters, e-bikes or anything else that wants to compete.

“I don’t believe in this disruption concept,” he said yesterday during an interview in the company’s garage southeast of downtown. “Disruption, to me, says you were asleep at the wheel for a while and you didn’t notice all these things were happening. I do believe in evolution.”

Kauffman’s grandfather started the cab company in…


by Maxine Joselow and Kristi E. Swartz, E&E News reporters

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Keri Menendez opposed efforts this spring to unionize Volkswagen AG’s Chattanooga, Tenn., plant. As for the prospect of increasing electric car sales across the auto industry, she’s optimistic. But her co-workers are skeptics. Francis Chung/E&E News

Originally published in E&E News.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — It was a Monday morning in May, five months after Volkswagen AG declared its plans to build electric cars here, when Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) made a surprise appearance at the VW manufacturing plant.

Workers were filing in through the front gates when word spread that the silver-haired governor was there to address them. …


by Maxine Joselow and Kristi E. Swartz, E&E News reporters

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Proterra’s electric bus manufacturing plant in Greenville, S.C. Maxine Joselow/E&E News

GREENVILLE, S.C. — This small town is where most of America’s domestic electric buses are made.

Proterra Inc. owns and operates this factory, which employs more than 300 people. Since opening in 2011, it has built dozens of electric buses for transit agencies around the country.

Proterra was founded in 2004 by ex-Tesla executive Ryan Popple, who saw an opportunity to move from electric passenger cars into heavier vehicles. …


By Maxine Joselow and Kristi E. Swartz, E&E News reporters

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The steel skeleton of an SK Innovation battery factory being erected in Commerce, Ga. Maxine Joselow/E&E News

COMMERCE, Ga. — We got a sneak peek today at a much-hyped electric vehicle battery plant.

SK Innovation, a South Korean conglomerate, is building the $1.7 billion plant on a patch of land here the size of 10 football fields. The plant has generated a lot of buzz among auto analysts and other observers because it stands to solve a crucial missing link in the U.S. electric vehicle supply chain.

Currently, most lithium-ion batteries for EVs are produced overseas in China and other countries, except for those made at Tesla…

E&E News

The essential news for energy & environment professionals. E&E produces Energywire, Greenwire, E&E Daily, Climatewire and E&E News PM.

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