There were only 10 registered electric vehicles in Park County earlier this year, although that’s more than any other county in the Big Horn Basin.
However, Cody is the terminus of three routes the Wyoming Department of Transportation is highlighting to help businesses build electric vehicle charging stations so that tourists can reach Cody.
“We know there is a lady in Iowa who bought an electric vehicle and wants to go to Cody and Yellowstone,” WYDOT Director Luke Reiner had said during a spring meeting on EV opportunities. “Our task is to facilitate that.”
The state plans to use new federal grants made available to Wyoming to ensure the tourism economy is not left behind if electric vehicles continue to grow in popularity, while simultaneously assisting private companies and municipalities in putting in place infrastructure across the state that may just make more Wyomingites comfortable with driving EVs.
“These stations will not only be powered by Wyoming energy, but will help facilitate tourism around the state,” Reiner said. “We want drivers who choose EVs to have safe and reliable ways to charge their vehicles as they drive in our state. This has been an inter-agency effort to maximize available resources for our residents and visitors.”
Recent research shows Wyoming as being a prime spot in some ways for more EVs.
Research site Zutobi recently named Wyoming the fifth cheapest state to fully charge a Tesla Model 3 at $4.14, tied with Utah.
And in July, AAA said drivers in the West, including Wyoming, were more likely to go electric, with 33% saying they’d like to switch in the region, compared to 25% nationwide. Of the group, 79% of survey respondents wanting to switch said they would change to save gas, and 76% to help the environment.
Even though there are more drivers interested in EVs than ever before, some remain skeptical, according to the survey. Concerns about running out of charge, known as range anxiety, and concerns about lack of places to charge are the most common reasons for hesitancy, according to the survey.
And while infrastructure is planned for the region, the priority, Reiner said, is to help entrepreneurs add infrastructure along the interstates. Cody, being a tourist destination, is at the top of the secondary sites slated for connection to EV infrastructure, whether that’s charging stations at gas stations and rest stops or somewhere else.
“The world is changing, alternate fuel vehicles are being used,” Reiner said. “People get to choose what they drive. Our task as WYDOT is to ensure transportation network can support whatever you choose to drive.”
For more information on how the federal EV plan will impact Wyoming, visit dot.state.wy.us/home/planning_projects/zero-emission-vehicles/national-electric-vehicle-infrastructure-(nevi)-program.html.