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Duquesne Light Revving Up Investment In Electric Vehicles

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Duquesne Light
As technology evolves and electric vehicles grow in popularity, officials at Duquesne Light say demand is also growing for public and private charging stations.

Duquesne Light is boosting its electric vehicle offerings with new charging stations at two downtown Pittsburgh Parking Authority garages and at the utility’s Woods Run campus on the North Side.

Sarah Oleksak, the utility's manager of transportation electrification, said the stations build on an existing online guide comparing more than 30 models of plug-in vehicles with their gas powered counterparts, as well as a partnership with the regional car dealership, #1 Cochran, which promises rebates for people who buy or lease electric vehicles.

These programs are debuting during a period of rapid growth in sales. The Edison Electric Institute, an association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies, reported total EV sales for 2018 were up 81 percent compared to 2017.

Oleksak said recent local investments are a result of that demand.

“We’re finding that more of our customers are interested in buying and driving electric vehicles. So we stepped back and looked into how we could better serve them, and that’s the programming you’re seeing roll out this year and in the near future.”

She said "range anxiety" is a big reason some people are hesitiant to buy an electric vehicle, but Oleksak said most connect easily to standard 110-volt wall outlets and use about the same energy annually as running two refrigerators. 

She said electric vehicle adoption is a gospel Duquesne Light hopes to spread. And if popularity continues, the utility will be ready.

“We have a really strong grid that has a lot of capacity, and Duquesne Light has no concerns over whether or not we can handle electric vehicles.”

Read more Pittsburgh Business Report stories here