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Utah group leads effort to build EV corridors across the Mountain West

 Visitors enjoy the view from the Observation Point Trail, a strenuous eight-mile round-trip hike that climbs 2,000 ft. above the canyon floor.
National Park Service
/
Christopher Gezon
Visitors enjoy the view from the Observation Point Trail, a strenuous eight-mile round-trip hike that climbs 2,000 ft. above the canyon floor.

A multi-state project is working to provide electric vehicle charging stations and corridors to scenic areas around the Mountain West. ChargeWest is working with state agencies in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona to make this a reality.

News Brief

Rural, scenic areas in our region often require long road trips to access. That can make electric vehicle owners wary if there aren’t many charging stations along the way. However, one group is hoping to ease that anxiety.

ChargeWest is aiding a massive effort to build an electric vehicle corridor with charging stations throughout the Mountain West. That includes Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.

Tammie Bostick leads the Utah Clean Cities Coalition, which is coordinating that effort with help from a federal grant. She said EV corridors would include fast-charging stations every 50 miles along major roadways. But she said they’re now focusing on harder-to-reach areas, too.

“You know, these rural communities that funnel a lot of tourism and traffic,” she said. “Think of Zion [National] Park. Think of Moab. Tons of people are descending upon those towns and there’s not charging.”

She said the plan is to reduce the range anxiety of electric vehicle owners around the many scenic, but rural, places across our region — like national parks.

“How do you plan to travel across the Western states and arrive at your destination with range confidence?” she asked.

In a press release, Utah Governor Spencer Cox said, “ChargeWest™ is recognized as a national rural model for building electric vehicle infrastructure throughout rural gateway communities, national parks, and scenic byways. As Governor of Utah, it is a proud moment to commemorate in our state history and to be part of this eight state launch of the ChargeWest™, West Electric Highway, the largest EV Corridor plan in the nation.”

Funding for new charging stations will likely come from the recent federal infrastructure package, which includes $5 billion for states to help build a national charging network.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2022 Boise State Public Radio News. To see more, visit Boise State Public Radio News.

Madelyn Beck is a regional Illinois reporter, based in Galesburg. On top of her work for Harvest Public Media, she also contributes to WVIK, Tri-States Public Radio and the Illinois Newsroom collaborative.