Rivian was in my neck of the woods (Baton Rouge) yesterday. My state governor, John Bel Edwards, shared a photo of himself in the new R1T along with his thoughts in a Facebook post.
“This electric truck sure drives differently than my old Chevy. Department of Transportation and Development Sec. Shawn Wilson and I had a great time test driving this truck and discussing the future of infrastructure on day two of the National Governors Association’s Infrastructure Summit.”
This is really encouraging because Rivian, along with Tesla, isn’t allowed to sell directly to consumers here in Louisiana. Although Governor Edwards has been inside a Tesla before and I’ve written about that here, the state’s focus is more favorable of the oil and gas industry. The idea of EVs and clean energy isn’t widely accepted here — yet.
Earlier this summer, I attended an EV day event at the state capitol to help raise awareness about EVs. This is right before Louisiana decided to end the state EV tax credit earlier than originally planned. Some of the conversations I held with lawmakers, reporters, and capitol staff enlightened me to the fact that we have a lot of work to do debunking a lot of the FUD surrounding EVs in general.
Some of the comments in response to Governor Edwards’ post were honest and insightful, and many local Tesla owners were educating folks about the importance of EVs and how they can help during a hurricane evacuation (you don’t have to worry about getting gas if you charge), but one key point is that we don’t have enough charging infrastructure. We need that. Sure, we have a few Tesla Superchargers, but if a Rivian owner had to evacuate for a hurricane, we would need the proper infrastructure for that.
This isn’t to say that plans aren’t in place, though. Louisiana Clean Fuels has been working to create a statewide master plan for a DC fast charging network along our interstate corridors that would also meet the standards for the FHWA alternative fuel corridors signage. You can read more about that here.
I am a fan of the Rivian R1T truck and I think that if Governor Edwards was to get one, it would help our state to be more receptive to EVs in general.
Featured photo courtesy of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards via Facebook.
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