TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (KTUL) — A new Cherokee Nation charging station for electric cars provides 58,000-kilowatt hours of electricity to the tribal complex and is free and open to the public.
Ben Phillips usually plugs in his EV Cadillac at home but now, he’s got a new option.
“I’ve enjoyed it, and it's nice to have a spot to charge up," said Phillips.
Just recently, the Cherokee Nation became the first Oklahoma tribe to open a solar canopy car charging station. As a tribal citizen and employee of Cherokee Nation, Phillips says the innovative move was a step in the right direction.
“I'm just excited for the Cherokee Nation to be committed to green, renewable energy and glad to be a part of it," said Phillips.
The tribe started looking at its carbon footprint about a year ago and became committed to natural resources.
"One of the big contributors here was the traffic, all the people driving two and from work," said Sara Hill, Secretary of National Resources for Cherokee Nation. "It was contributing to the carbon issues that we have.”
The canopy has eight stalls, free and open to the public, where people can get a little juice for their cars. The tribe hopes this move will encourage more people to think about getting more clean-energy vehicles.
“You don’t have to buy gas; you don’t have to get oil changes," said Hill. "Electric cars provide a lot for families and employees and this will give them a chance to really see that.”
The tribe says they've seen a few EV cars stopping by for a quick charge. Right now, Phillips is the only Cherokee Nation employee to use it but that could soon change.
“I’ve had several employees come up to me and ask me questions about electric cars," said Phillips. "There's a lot of people thinking about getting an electric vehicle.”
“It’s part of the economic future of northeast Oklahoma and being sure we have all the right pieces in place to be successful in the future," said Hill.
The canopy also provides 58,000-kilowatt hours of electricity to the tribal complex. That’s enough juice to power three homes for an entire year.