The Rise of Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure in Utah

Over the past few years, Utah has seen a significant increase in the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). According to data from the State Tax Commission website, the number of registered EVs in the state has skyrocketed from just over 1,100 in 2015 to more than 16,000 in 2022. This surge in popularity can be attributed to various factors, including a growing awareness of the detrimental effects of traditional vehicles on air quality and the availability of charging infrastructure.

Kelbe Goupil, a senior associate of electrification with Utah Clean Energy, explains that one of the motivations for driving an electric vehicle is the desire to reduce tailpipe emissions and improve air quality. Goupil emphasizes the convenience of EV charging stations, such as the level two charging units found across Salt Lake City, which provide approximately 5 to 10 miles of range per hour of charging. These stations are often used for day-to-day errands.

The city of Salt Lake has taken steps to address the charging infrastructure gap by installing 20 free public charging stations. Additionally, many private businesses, including grocery stores and retail centers, have also installed EV charging stations. Goupil believes that range anxiety, the fear of running out of charge while on the road, is becoming a thing of the past as more charging stations are popping up.

While public charging stations are important for on-the-go charging, Goupil highlights that about 80% of EV charging takes place at home. However, charging accessibility in multifamily housing remains a challenge. To tackle this issue, the Salt Lake City Sustainability Department has implemented the electric vehicle readiness update to the Off-Street Parking Ordinance. This update requires future multifamily constructions to provide at least 20% EV-ready parking spaces without the need for actual charging stations. This will ensure that residents have the option to charge their vehicles at home as EV demand continues to grow.

The Salt Lake City Sustainability Department is committed to supporting the adoption of electric vehicles and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They have set a goal of reducing emissions by 80% by 2040. As part of their efforts, they are conducting a community electric transportation assessment to identify areas where additional EV charging infrastructure is needed. The assessment is expected to be completed in the spring of next year.

For individuals interested in purchasing an electric vehicle, federal tax credits and charging incentives are available through the Inflation Reduction Act. More information can be found on the Utah Clean Energy website.

– State Tax Commission website data
– Kelbe Goupil, senior associate of electrification with Utah Clean Energy
– Sophia Nicholas, deputy director of the Salt Lake City Sustainability Department