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Idaho Expands Electric Vehicle Charging Network

Sophie Jonas

Idaho is embracing the transition to electric vehicles with open arms. Thanks to the bipartisan federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act program, the Gem State will receive more than $30 million between now and 2027. This money is earmarked to ensure that Idaho drivers have easy-to-access electric charging stations throughout the state’s highway and interstate systems.

Idaho officials are confident this influx of funding will positively impact the state both environmentally and financially.

Idahoans are showing they are ready for it: there’s a 41 percent increase in electric vehicles on the road in the state over the past year.

Photo Courtesy John Cameron

That increase is certainly big news. At the end of 2020, Idaho had the lowest number of electric vehicles on the road of any state in America – and only 100 public charging stations statewide. This discouraged electric vehicle ownership. Increasing that number has been a priority for Boise legislators, who earmarked nearly $6 million in federal funding for an immediate electric vehicle charging network build. The 41 percent increase brings Idaho’s electric vehicle tally to 3,250 registered cars and trucks on the road, with an additional 1,000 plug-in hybrids also crisscrossing the state. Idaho Power has also joined the push toward EVs.

“Electric vehicles are clearly becoming more popular, and I support the infrastructure investment needed to support this growth,” said Idaho’s U.S. Representative Mike Simpson. “With Idaho’s large percentage of public land, as well as our rural geography, it is fitting that we accept funding so that these types of vehicles can be available and useful to everyone who wants them – not just major cities.”

Idaho electric drivers who have had charging challenges will find those challenges are soon in the past, as the state rapidly expands its Tesla Superchargers and regular stations. With the roll-out of Ford’s new electric F-150 Lightning, many farmers in the mostly-rural state are showing interest in the cost savings.

“As we move to carbon-neutrality, what we’re finding in this valley and elsewhere, the car impact is a big impact,” said Boise mayor Lauren McLean. “So ensuring…we have moved into electrified vehicles, both big and small, is a big part of our strategy.”

Photo Courtesy Oxana Melis

Idaho is clearly making good use of its federal funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The act’s goal is to upgrade the nation’s roads, bridges, water systems, and public transportation systems, with a major goal of making electric vehicle ownership even easier through plentiful charging stations along major travel routes. Idaho joins many other U.S. states in placing a charging station at least every 50 miles along the interstates, helping the country move toward cleane fuels.

“We are modernizing America’s national highway system for drivers in cities large and small, towns and rural communities, to take advantage of the benefits of driving electric,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. “The bipartisan infrastructure law is helping states to make electric vehicle charging more accessible by building the necessary infrastructure for drivers across America to save money and go the distance, from coast to coast.”

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