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Arkansas looking to pave way for electric vehicles

Governor Hutchinson is looking to make Arkansas the hub for electric cars. This week he signed an executive order creating the future mobility advisory council.

ARKANSAS, USA — Arkansas’ Future Mobility Advisory Council is a task force team that will take steps forward into the future of mobility in Arkansas.

Governor Asa Hutchinson says the Future Mobility Advisory Council consists of private sector leaders in these industries and government leaders “to ensure that we are prepared for electrification, autonomous vehicles, and advanced air mobility to integrate into our existing infrastructure and create an environment in which they can thrive."

By the end of this year, the production of these cars is already expected to happen. Electric vehicle manufacturer Canoo is planning a manufacturing operation inside a 260,000 square-foot building on Regional Airport Boulevard in Bentonville.

“Having a nationwide known electric vehicle manufacturer is important for the region. It's going to bring 600 jobs,” said NWA Council CEO, Nelson Peacock.

Canoo says this is expected to boost the economy bringing in researchers to the University of Arkansas to make making cutting edge cars in Northwest Arkansas.

Arkansas is investing $54 million in electric cars. That money comes from the nearly $5 billion under President Biden’s national electric vehicle infrastructure formula program.

Arkansas already has five charging stations across the area to accommodate the cars.

“We’re continuing to see an uptick of usage of our chargers,” said Ashley Harris with Ozarks Electric Cooperative. “Over the last 12 months the energy usage at our chargers has tripled and we’ve seen 35 unique cars use our chargers at the rate of about 80 different sessions per month.”

Governor Hutchinson has given the future mobility advisory council until Nov. 30 to finish their report.

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