You’ve likely heard or read that most automakers are transitioning many or all their new vehicles to electric-only models over the next 10 years. Regardless of the type of car you drive today, the electrification of the transportation sector is underway. 

We regularly receive inquiries about electric vehicles from Southwest Tennessee Electric members, so I thought it would be helpful to respond to some of those frequently-asked questions.

Q: Why is STEMC communicating about electric vehicles?
A: It’s no secret that consumer interest in electric vehicles (EVs) is growing, and STEMC is providing information so that our members can make informed decisions when considering an EV purchase. 

Q: Why is Southwest Tennessee Electric involved in EV infrastructure issues?
A: All electric utilities are planning now to ensure they have the necessary electric infrastructure in place to meet future EV charging needs––without jeopardizing the ability to keep reliable power flowing to our local homes and businesses. As your local energy provider, STEMC is best suited to advise and help our members and local businesses plan for the electric vehicle future.

Q: Can I charge my EV using an existing outlet or do I need a special outlet?
A: All EVs come with a 110-volt-compatible (Level 1) charging unit which can be plugged into any standard household outlet. For an eight-hour overnight charge, this will enable traveling around 36 to 40 miles a day. If you typically drive longer distances or are in a hurry, a Level 2 charger takes about half the time and provides about 180 miles of range over an eight-hour charging period. A Level 2 charger must be installed by a licensed electrician. 

Q: Does the outside temperature affect the range of an EV?
A: Outside temperatures, particularly colder weather, can impact the range of an EV. Unlike a gas-powered vehicle, where the heat is mostly coming from the engine, an EV must produce cabin heat and manage an optimal battery temperature with energy that comes from the battery, which can reduce battery range. 

Q: Will an EV meet my daily driving needs? 
A:  If you are like most Americans and drive an average of 30 miles a day, an EV can meet your daily needs. 

Q: Should I let my co-op know if I purchase an EV? 
A: If you purchase an EV, please let us know so we can better serve you. As more STEMC members buy EVs, it’s helpful to know where they’re located in our area so we can ensure we have the necessary infrastructure in place to meet charging needs and provide reliable power to our local homes and businesses. 

We understand making the switch to an EV is a big decision. Whether you’re ready to make an EV purchase or wondering if an EV can meet your daily driving needs, we’re here to help you make an informed decision. 


By Kevin Murphy
General Manager, Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation