Those lukewarm to electric vehicles often cite the lack of public charging stations as one of the reasons for remaining quite happy with their gas- or diesel-powered vehicles. However, the State of Utah may eliminate range anxiety from the discussion.
In Utah, the Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Committee is considering HB259, which instructs the Utah Department of Transportation to lead in the creation of a statewide electric-vehicle charging network.
The bill, which was introduced Monday, would create a statewide charging network, helping to eliminate range anxiety as a reason from preventing new vehicle buyers from considering an electric vehicle in the future.
The bill calls for the state to partner with Rocky Mountain Power to develop a $50 million charging network across the state. Stations would be located every 50 miles on Utah highways as well as other public places like national parks. The network would be completed by 2025.
“The EV infrastructure bills make a significant statement about our state’s investment in air quality. There are no perfect answers, but there are practical solutions, and these bills to expand the charging infrastructure is a practical solution to range anxiety,” Thom Carter, executive director of the Utah Clean Air Partnership, told Electrek.
The Utah legislature passed a bill recently providing tax credits to companies purchasing electric vehicles, mirroring actions taken by California and other states looking to encourage the addition of more EVs or other zero-emissions vehicles.
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If passed into law, it’s likely the state’s citizenry will be in favor of it, if recent polls are to be believed. According to a Colorado College poll, 95% of the Utah residents feel that air pollution and smog are serious problems — up 16 percentage points since 2011, Electrek reported.
Utah is serious about it EV policies. In fact, it formed the State Agency Electric Vehicle (EV) Expansion Committee in 2018. The organization “was assembled in order to create a unified, coordinated, and responsible EV infrastructure strategy for the advancement of EV charging across the Utah, thereby improving air quality through increased zero emission transportation,” according to the document outlining the state’s five-year master plan for electric vehicles.
The state is serious enough that it promotes its “EV friendliness” as part of its tourism campaign. Home to the “Mighty 5” national parks – Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion – the Governor’s Office of Energy Development put a plan in place to help EV travelers experience them, calling it The Mighty 5 EV road trip
The Utah Office of Tourism has catered to the rapid growth in visitation at the national parks by promoting a wider range of destinations through a public-facing campaign called the Road to Mighty and an internal tourism strategy called the Red Emerald Initiative.
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Utah Governor Gary Herbert is supportive of the efforts, proposing the state spend $66 million to increase electric vehicle infrastructure. “These investments will help us achieve our goal of reducing annual statewide per capita emissions by 25% by 2026,” Herbert said.