Ouachita Electric Takes Charge with Tesla

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018 12:00 am   1 min read

Mark Cayce, CEO of Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corp. (Karen E. Segrave)

Mark Cayce has the keys to a new Tesla, and if you’re a member of Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corp. in Camden, he might just hand them over to you — briefly.

As OECC’s chief executive, Cayce is a force behind a nonprofit utility that’s plunging into the future and leading innovation in south Arkansas.

Word is that Cayce will be the main designated driver for the $57,000 Tesla Model 3, which will be used in demonstrations and for employee travel to meetings and training.

The car will appear at civic clubs, public programs and demonstrations for students on the benefits of electric cars.

“There will also be opportunities for members of the cooperative to ride and test-drive the car,” Cayce told Whispers. “The purpose of the purchase is to educate and inform our members about electric vehicles and demonstrate that EVs can perform in a rural setting.”

The co-op has installed a charger at its headquarters in Camden and connected it to the utility’s own solar array out back. The first commercial-grade charging station in the area will be installed in the spring at a motel under construction in East Camden.

The Tesla is an all-wheel-drive model with an extended-range battery good for 310 miles before a recharge.

OECC spent only $47,000 for the car, a price made possible through a lease with Today’s Power Inc., an Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc. subsidiary that builds utility-scale solar arrays, including the one at OECC.

“A full charge costs under $3.50 to give the car a 310-mile range,” Cayce said, adding that the Tesla’s range will allow for trips to Little Rock and back without recharging.

 

 

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