IDAHO — Here in Idaho, residents love their trucks and SUVs, and for good reason when you consider the numerous jobs that use them on a regular basis, as well as our winter weather and rugged terrain. Though considering climate change, advancements in technology, and the push to move away from foreign fossil fuels, electric vehicles will be in the spotlight over the next several years. Is Idaho ready to make that transition?
Here in Idaho, you won't find a lot of electric vehicles on the roads. Why is that? Experts say it could be for a number of reasons.
"Will I be able to charge my vehicle? Will I be able to afford my vehicle? Will I be able to afford the insurance for it?" asked Insurance Agent and Analyst for Quotewizard.com Robb Bhatt.
Every state has some type of electric vehicle incentive program, but some states have far more incentives than others.
"The average per state, our research shows, is about 18. If you look at a place like California, they have 116 different incentives. And then just closer to home, Washington has 26, and Utah has 17, Oregon has 22," said Bhatt.
Idaho has nine.
When it comes to EV infrastructure here in Idaho, we rank 41st in the nation when factoring in stats like incentives, EV adoption rate, and number of charging stations, all according to quotewizard.com. But Bhatt says it makes sense with our geography.
"These vehicles are embraced more frequently in urban areas and highly-concentrated areas, and you see larger cities versus more rural areas. Obviously, Idaho has more wide-open spaces," said Bhatt.
The state says it's aware of these issues.
"Idaho is on the late end of EV acquisition or proliferation in terms of ownership, but what we've seen over the past two years is a significant increase. For example, since 2020, we've seen a 269% increase in EV and hybrid ownership in Idaho," said Idaho Office of Energy and Mineral Resources Administrator Rich Stover.
And though that number only equates to around 5,000 EVs in Idaho, give or take, the number should be taking off over the next few years after the passing of the bipartisan infrastructure bill last year.
"Idaho, over the course of the next five years, will receive just over $30 million for the deployment of EV charging stations and related infrastructure across designated alternative fuel corridors," said Stover.
Idaho will receive the funding through its five-year National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program, also known as NEVI. Year one will include a study to identify the best and most efficient spots for direct current fast-charging stations all around the state.
"Once those sites are identified, then we will open up a competitive grant opportunity for private parties to apply to the State of Idaho to access these funds, which will be utilized to help purchase a charging station," said Stover.
That basically means that in time, EV charging stations will be just like standard gas stations that we use every day. And though that sounds convenient, it still doesn't change the number of state incentives that exist for purchasing an EV.