Brian West is ready to electrify transportation in McAlester and he hopes to have everything in motion before the end of the month.
West operates out of his OK Lawn and Pest business at 426 S. Main St., where something new has been added — two DC Fast Chargers which can charge electric vehicles much more quickly than other chargers.
West said the two new electric chargers have been installed by Francis Solar, a Tulsa-based solar energy company. While the new chargers are in place, West said they have not yet been activated because the equipment is awaiting completion of final hookup procedures.
“It’s nerve-wracking,” West said of the wait. “I want it to be done, now. I’m trying to be patient.”
West said Combined Charging Systems, available at his site, is utilized by most electric vehicles in the U.S.
With the DC Fast Chargers at his shop, West said an electric Tesla can be charged by using an adapter, or a Nissan or Kia can be charged without one.
How quickly can a DC Fast Charger power an electric vehicle?
“The charge is about 20 minutes, from zero to 80 percent,” West said.
Once the chargers are ready to use, West said there should be more people stopping in McAlester to fully charge their electric vehicles. He maintains the city could become a major stopping point for people driving electric vehicles between Dallas and Tulsa and in quick need of a recharge.
West hopes the hookups for the DC Fast Chargers are completed soon, because he’s ready to launch his new Rover.Taxi service — a taxi service which he said will consist entirely of electric vehicles.
West already has two cars ready to be utilized as taxis, both Chevrolet Sparks — and he said he will add more if needed.
Opening the rear door on one of the Chevy Sparks West pointed to the back seat.
“We’ve got phone chargers, the internet and Wi-Fi in the car,” West said, along with satellite radio.
Once the Rover.Taxi service is off and running, the company can be contacted through different ways.
“We’ll have an app,” West said. The app, when it’s in place, can be downloaded from the Google Store or the Apple Store, he said.
For those who don’t download the app, West said there will be a dispatch number to utilize. He’s also talking with nursing home operators about the best method for contacting his taxi company, said West.
As for taxi drivers, West said he already has a number of applicants who have met all the requirements and are lined up and ready to go.
“I have eight drivers that passed everything,” he said.
That could be fortunate, because West said he’s already getting calls from people requesting Rover.Taxi service — even though the business has yet to open.
“We’re getting four and five phone calls a day,” he said.
Starting a taxi company powered by electric vehicles has been a longtime goal of his.
“It’s been in my head about four years,” West said.
He already has an operative AC charger for electric vehicles outside his shop, which he uses to charge his own Tesla and has made available to the public — but it’s not comparable to the speed with which a DC Fast Charger can charge a vehicle. West said It can take several hours to fully charge an electric vehicle using the AC method.
West plans to install two restaurant booths inside OK Lawn and Pest, where snacks and soft drinks will be for sale for those who want to relax a bit while their electric vehicle is charging up.
As for the cost of using the quick chargers when they become operative, West said it’s yet to be determined.
“We don’t know the full cost yet,” he said. “It’s about a third of the price of gas.”
While there has been talk of placing additional DC Fast Chargers at several other sites in the McAlester area, West indicated there’s something he’s sure of at this point.
“I’m the only one on the ground,” he said.
Contact James Beaty at firstname.lastname@example.org