Electric automobiles in Leavenworth? Our youngest son has a Tesla electric car which he uses in business travels from coast to coast. He has not visited us, choosing instead routes on I-40 and I-80. He said there were not as many charging stations in our area. Not so now.

Last week, I watched as Pete Konrade, O.L. Smith Electric, completed hook-ups for charging stations across from the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum and Leavenworth City Hall. There was already a station at Home 2 Suites and another in the Evergy parking lot. These stations, and possibly others in the area, are joint ventures between governments, businesses, shopping centers and Evergy on a cost share basis.

Mike Stevens, of the City Engineer Department, is project manager for Leavenworth. I assume projects like the one here are being done all over the country, indeed, all over the world. China has just mandated that one of their largest cities switch to electric cars for their entire taxi fleet.

The charging process is interesting. The public station accepts a pre-approved credit card or a card purchased with the original vehicle purchase. Tesla Models X and S, purchases after August 2019, come with unlimited supercharging. I suppose that means an owner would still have to pay for in-home charging.

Can a car overcharge? No, however, if you are thinking of using a charging station for free long-term parking in an otherwise crowded public parking area, forget it. Most stations now are equipped to charge an “idle fee” for vehicles which overstay the charging period. There is a map of charging stations in each vehicle navigation system.

Next year, Tesla will be joined by most major automobile manufacturers in the production of electric cars and trucks. They have been languishing on the drawing board and used sparingly, but as gasoline prices have increased and electric batteries have improved, popularity has increased. Estimates are that electric vehicles will make up more than 7%, about six million units, of vehicles on the road next year.

So, my young son, when can we expect a visit?

Jim McKinney is a resident of downtown Leavenworth.