Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Expanded Electric Vehicle Access in the American West

March 5, 2018

You are here

An infrastructure that can support 20,000 electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids is now coming to the West. Facilitated by the Energy Department this state-led initiative will electrify more than 7,000 miles of interstate corridors across eight states.

At the 2017 Energy Innovation Summit, hosted by the National Governors Association, the governors of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming signed a memorandum of understanding to begin the development of a regional electric vehicle (EV) plan for the West, known as the REV West Plan.

Most cities across the intermountain West are separated by long distances, and interstates are critical. Currently, EV drivers fear that they won’t have enough charge to get from one destination or charging station to the next. This new EV charging infrastructure along these passages will boost EV traffic, and reduce associated range anxiety felt between charging stations.

The REV West Plan will also be an economic stimulus, promoting consumer spending along the new EV corridors, creating cost savings for EV drivers, and producing other benefits. An April 2017 study by M.J. Bradley & Associates found that if Colorado pursues even a moderate growth scenario of plug-in EV (PEV) adoption, the state could see a net present value of $7.6 billion in cumulative net benefits by 2050.  This would mean an increase from approximately 7,600 PEVs today to 349,000 by 2025, 544,000 PEVs in 2030, 1.02 million in 2040, and 1.6 million in 2050.

States have already begun implementing the EV plan. Staff at each state energy office will leverage funds allocated by the Energy Department’s State Energy Program.

“This state-led effort shows how western states continue to work together to find innovative solutions and plan for a future where increasing numbers of people and families are traveling the West in electric vehicles,” said Montana Governor Steve Bullock. The plan, he said, would “realize the economic and environmental benefits of coordinated infrastructure planning.”

Some western states have already been developing electric highways within their own borders, as part of state-level strategic plans. Nevada has nearly completed an electric highway linking Reno and Las Vegas. The state is also building electric vehicle charging stations along Interstates 80 and 15, U.S. 93, and U.S. 50, in support of its Strategic Planning Framework 2016-2020 to complete an electric highway system serving the entire state by 2020.

The Energy Department’s State Energy Program provides funding and technical assistance to states and territories to enhance energy security, advance state energy initiatives, and maximize benefits of decreasing energy waste and costs.