Western Governors Unite to Create EV Charging Network

The governors of Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to provide a framework for creating a regional electric vehicle plan for the West (REV West Plan). The plan was announced Wednesday at the Energy Innovation Summit hosted by the National Governors Association.

The plan spans more than 5,000 miles of highway across east-west Interstates 10, 40, 70, 76, 80, 84, 86, 90 and 94, and north-south Interstates 15 and 25. With more than 20,000 electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids already on the roads in western states, the electrification of these major corridors is expected to reduce range anxiety and drive further adoption of EVs, while transforming the market to allow smaller communities to plug into the regional system.

The MOU calls for a coordination group to undertake the following actions:

  • Create best practices and procedures that will enhance EV adoption by promoting EV consumer acceptance and awareness by addressing “range anxiety”; coordinate on EV charging station locations to avoid redundancy and to ensure stations are sited at a frequency and locations so as to optimize utilization and to minimize inconsistencies between charging infrastructure in each state; and leverage economies of scale;
  • Create voluntary minimum standards for EV charging stations, including standards for administration, interoperability, operations, and management;
  • Identify and develop opportunities to incorporate EV charging station infrastructure into planning and development processes, such as building codes, metering policies, and renewable energy generation projects;
  • Encourage EV manufacturers to stock and market a wide variety of EVs within the Signatory States; and
  • Identify, respond to, and where possible collaborate on funding opportunities to support the development of the Regional Electric Vehicle West EV Corridor.

“Utah is proud to take part in modernizing the ‘Crossroads of the West’ through working state-to-state to establish this strategic electric vehicle transportation network,” said Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert. “By knitting together the plans of seven key states through cooperative partnerships one to another, America’s travelers will soon be able to experience the wonders of the West while enjoying the innovations of our day and advancing environmental outcomes.”

“This framework is another example of the innovation and bipartisan collaboration happening around energy here in the West,” said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. “Through this collaboration, we will drive economic growth and promote our outdoor recreation opportunities across our states. Our residents and the millions of visitors to our states will be able to drive electric vehicles from Denver to Las Vegas, from Santa Fe to Helena.”

“This is the latest example of states like Idaho being on the forefront of energy advancement,” said Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter. “In the West we pride ourselves on what we can accomplish by working together. This initiative will ensure that locals and visitors to Idaho and our neighboring states have the freedom to explore the West in the way they prefer.”

“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 Gov. Steve Bullock. “I am pleased to sign onto this bipartisan effort to take practical steps to realize the economic and environmental benefits of coordinated infrastructure planning that will benefit us now and well into the future.”

“It is important for Western states to work together and prepare as the use of electric vehicles grows,” said Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead. “This initiative encourages infrastructure plans that allow people with electric vehicles to visit and recreate in Wyoming. Strategically spaced charging stations will allow these visitors to enjoy the same independence as traditional vehicles.”

“Our state’s portfolio encourages the use of all energy assets,” said New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez. “We’ve already begun to install electric vehicle charging stations at state-owned buildings, and we stand with other western states by making a bold commitment by supporting successful implementation of an EV charging station network along our main interstate corridors.”

The Sierra Club welcomed the MOU. In a statement, Gina Coplon-Newfield, director of the group’s Clean Transportation For All Campaign, said, “Equipping 5,000 miles of freeways throughout the west with electric vehicle charging stations will help drive away the pollution from dirty transportation that harms our climate and our communities. Encouraging the rapid transition to electric vehicles is an all-around win for our climate, our public health, and our economy. Electric vehicles are already cleaner than gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles today. Coupled with the west’s transition to clean energy, electric vehicles offer the promise of 100 percent clean transportation as we move forward. The Sierra Club applauds this bipartisan group of governors for accelerating our transition to a 21st century clean transportation system.”

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