Pull into the Redmond Freddie’s, Safeway or Walmart and it’s easy to assume that Redmond identifies more with pick-ups and SUV’s than EV (all electric) or hybrid vehicles. Drive into The Home Depot or Lowe’s and you’ll find that Redmond drivers are clearly more at home in that Chevy, Dodge or Ford truck just as dad or grandpa drove all those years.
Given its ranching and farming heritage, it’s understandable that drivers here would favor the heftier, multi-purpose usefulness of a light duty truck or roomy SUV. Years running, pickups are the best-selling passenger vehicles in America with Ford’s F-150 perennially at the top of the sales rankings, followed this year by Dodge Ram and the Chevrolet Silverado. Through November these models have sold a combined 1.25 million vehicles. Pickups held the number 11 and 12 spots too.
For the first time an all-electric car, the Tesla Model Y, made Car and Driver’s list coming in at number 19. That list looks a lot like Redmond. But experts say that’s all going to change.
The year 2022 could be the year EV sales take off. More than a dozen new models are expected to launch, adding to 20 already on the market in 2020.
IHS Markit expects more than 100 models to offer a battery electric option in 2025. EV share could more than triple from 1.8 percent of U.S. registrations last year to 9 percent in 2025 and 15 percent in 2030.
Toyota is particularly bullish: EV sales will grow to as high as one in every six vehicles by 2030, predicts Toyota Motor North America. That would represent greater volume than all of the Japanese company’s Lexus division in the U.S. Over at Ford you can get in line — a very long line — for the new 2022 F-150 Lightning, an all-electric pickup. Not your father’s truck to be sure.
Tradition and legacy aside, Redmond will find itself in the gravitational pull to EV. Will it be ready? By that we mean will be there be enough juice to charge the forecasted growing number of such cars? City managers say “yes.”
It’s hard not to say “Tesla” when thinking EV. Tesla, the visionary global leader in battery-powered autos, also knew that no matter how cutting edge their vehicles might be, there was no market without filling stations.
Consequently, they built and maintain nearly 1,000 stations that in some “super charger” locations will charge a Tesla enough in just 15 minutes to go as far as 200 miles.
The vast majority of EV’s will be charged at home. That fact is itself a need for Redmond’s infrastructure planners to get ready for the added electrical demand. Commuters, tourists, and shoppers from nearby communities will also rely on Redmond to get them juiced up from time to time.
Every EV comes with a built-in charging cord enabling it to connect to standard 110-volt household current. Thus, any Redmond campground or RV park with electric hook up will get you juice to recharge, albeit slowly — in the range of 2 to 6 MRH (miles range per hour) — essentially a trickle charge.
Redmond currently is more than meeting demand with its five — soon to be six — charging stations. The Spokesman has conducted sweeps and in a three-day period last week, we found only one car plugged into a public charging station, a Tesla at Centennial Park parking lot operated by the city offering two chargers.
The city will be adding a second charging location at its parking lot at Fourth and Evergreen. Each “pump” can fuel (recharge) one vehicle at a time. These are Level 3 “rapid” chargers. At the moment the city does not charge for recharging, something that bothers Mike Dunleavy of Redmond who lives near Centennial Park.
“They don’t pay for my gas. And they shouldn’t,” said Dunleavy. “It irks me no end that I walk by here and see a fancy Tesla getting free gas in effect,” he added. His walking pal, Todd Holmes, was even more offended by the idea. “Are you kidding me?” he asks Dunleavy.
Fred Meyer has a station, one pump, two hoses. There you can get Level 2 charging, about 14-35 MRH (miles range per hour) costing $4 per session or a Level 3 charging yielding about 100 MRH for $7.50 a charge for any brand.
Farther south at Central Community College you will find two Level 2 charger lanes (4 cars) and on the edge of town at the Redmond Air Tanker base is a Level 2 single lane (2 cars) and likewise at the far south end of town at Green Acres Market. All require payment and all are part of the ChargePoint network.
Future plans hope for chargers at the Public Works building, at City Hall and the new Public Safety building scheduled for completion in two to three years. A good amount of federal and state grant money is available for such projects that the City hopes to tap.
Nobody at the Redmond Police Department would go on the record as to if or when some of its patrol cars might be EV, but one officer said with a wink: “You do know that a Tesla will do zero to 60 in under 4 seconds, right?”
By all accounts Redmond can get you charged up just fine.