Utah could soon become a great state for electric car owners. Utah lawmakers introduced HB259 on Monday, which would invest a staggering 50 million dollars on charging infrastructure. They say they want to make Utah an “electric vehicle state”, but will it work?

Lofty ambitions

Utah’s plans for charging infrastructure are some of the most ambitious I’ve seen. This bill would encourage the Rocky Mountain Power utility company to invest 50 million dollars in charging infrastructure in the next 5 years.

The plan is to install new chargers every 50 miles along Utah’s highways, and other strategic locations like national parks. Lawmakers emphasized the importance of this charging infrastructure, especially in rural areas.

I think for rural Utah, having access to the same kind of infrastructure that we would expect on the Wasatch Front will be a big plus

Representative Lowry Snow (R-St. George)

It’s nice seeing lawmakers acknowledge the major gaps in EV charging networks in rural areas. And ensuring chargers are only ever spaced 50 miles apart will reduce range anxiety greatly. Utah drivers will be able to be confident knowing they’ll always be able to reach the next charging station.

Is it enough?

While expanded charging infrastructure is great, it might not be enough to make Utah an “electric vehicle state”. I’m seriously questioning the lack of any tax incentives for purchasing an EV.

While SB0077 just passed offering tax incentives for companies purchasing electric commercial vehicles, nothing exists for consumers. New Jersey recently passed a bill that not only invests in charging infrastructure, but it also gives consumers a $5000 tax credit to EV buyers.

Tesla hasn’t seemed to be hit too hard by losing their eligibility for federal tax credits though. Tesla buyers are no longer eligible for any federal tax credits, but the Model 3 is still selling strong. So maybe eliminating range anxiety may be enough to push EV adoption as the price of EVs continues to go down.

In an ideal world, we could have a national EV charging network. Unless every single state were to invest heavily in EV charging it won’t be possible to get everywhere in the US without a national network. But as we don’t know when that could possibly come moves like this are very welcome.

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