June 29, 2022

Charging the way forward


CIO of WPPI Energy buys one of nation’s first Ford electric trucks

“Everyone you give a ride to, you have to go fast,” said a smiling Phil Hansen, chief information officer at WPPI Energy. Hansen was talking about his most recent purchase, the new Ford F-150 Lightning, and its rapid acceleration rate. The electric truck can go from 0-60 in 4.2 seconds and tows up to 10,000 pounds.

Working at WPPI Energy for over 30 years, Hansen is known as a strong supporter of new technology. He was integral to the company’s early efforts to advance the system operations center’s use of technology in the mid-1990’s and he continues to drive the company into the future to this day.

“My main reason for purchasing the truck is that I like the new technology, and it’s really fun to drive,” remarked Hansen. “I also appreciate that it’s better for the environment and it saves me money on gas.”

Many people ask Hansen how he was able to get one of the nation’s first Ford F-150 Lightnings. He put in a reservation for the vehicle in May of 2021 and was able to place the order in January of 2022. He picked up the truck on June 6, 2022.

It’s an 80-mile round trip for Hansen to drive to work. Based on his utility’s electric rates he estimates charging the vehicle would cost a quarter of what he would otherwise spend in gas, saving him $3,000 per year. WPPI Energy currently provides free charging stations at its headquarters to promote the expansion of electric vehicles, so Hansen will save even more by charging in the parking lot while at the office.

Having had a gas-powered F-150 in the past, Hansen says he’s always enjoyed driving larger vehicles. Due to his longer commute, though, he’s often driven a smaller car while his wife — who prefers driving smaller vehicles — has used the family’s larger vehicle to get to work. Now that Hansen can drive the truck to work while also saving on gas, both get to drive their vehicle of choice.

The F-150 Lightning has a range of 320 miles before it needs to be charged, putting Hansen comfortably within range. He acknowledges that it might not be the best fit for someone needing to travel greater distances.

“You can’t pull a camper on a cross-country trip without having a good strategy for charging the truck,” shared Hansen. “For people needing a truck for longer trips, I tell them, ‘Maybe it’s not for you yet. Maybe in a few years.’”

For now, Hansen is enjoying the experience and all of the benefits that come with driving an electric vehicle.