Brooke Newman, Cronkite News
WASHINGTON – For a predominantly red state, Arizona has many blue state enterprises when it comes to states ranked by electric vehicle ownership, according to recent government data.
Arizona had 28,770 electric vehicles registered in June, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, the seventh highest number among states. When ownership is measured per 1,000 residents, Arizona jumps up to sixth place, with just over four electric vehicles per 1,000 residents.
This rate places Arizona just behind Oregon and Colorado and just ahead of Nevada and Vermont. California led by far, with 425,300 registered electric vehicles, or one per 10.7 residents.
Arizona EV enthusiasts praised the ranking, which they saw reflected in a steady increase in group membership, but said the state could do better.
“Arizona is growing by leaps and bounds in key areas, but continues to struggle in the backcountry,” said Jerry Asher, vice president of the Tucson Electric Vehicle Association.
He and others said the biggest challenge in Arizona, like much of the country, is the lack of readily available charging stations for electric vehicles.
Currently, there are 385 public rapid charge outlets and 1,448 non-rapid charge outlets in the state, said Diane Brown, executive director of the Arizona Public Interest Research Group Education Fund. And many of them “are not available around the clock, which often makes charging electric vehicles less convenient for the public,” she said.
And for the state to reach 10% electric vehicle owners by 2030, a scenario described by Arizona PIRG, the number of charging stations would have to increase dramatically.
“According to the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, to support a future in which 10% of Arizona’s vehicles will be electric vehicles – a conservative goal for 2030 – Arizona will need more than 1,098 fast charging outlets and 14,888 level 2 holds, ”said Brown.
This will require local, state and federal policies to make “electric vehicle charging accessible, affordable and easy,” she said.
But defenders said several things were working in their favor. Jim Stack, president of the Phoenix Electric Auto Association, said many of the current charging stations are in stores and libraries, places “where you would stop anyway.”
“We have a good charging infrastructure and it just keeps getting better,” Stack said.
One way Asher said Arizona might be more suited to electric vehicles would be to add charging stations at hotels, RV parks, and shopping malls. In Tucson, he said, Culinary Dropout and Jersey Mike’s restaurants have already started offering free electric vehicle charging to customers, Asher said.
As they push for more charging infrastructure, advocates said improved technology and reduced vehicle expenses were on their side, helping to encourage more Arizona to buy an electric vehicle these days. last years.
“Batteries get better, cost less, and last longer,” Stack said. He said an EV uses about 50 cents of electricity to cover the same number of miles a gasoline car gets on a gallon of gasoline – currently selling for $ 3.12 a gallon in Arizona, according to AAA.
In addition, the state offers incentives to buyers of electric vehicles.
“In AZ, we are getting reduced registration on electric vehicles,” Stack said. “It’s about $ 15 per year compared to $ 300 to $ 700 per year for gasoline and diesel cars.”
Electric vehicle owners “also have 24/7 access to HOV lanes, even with one person,” he said. And utilities like Tucson Electric Power offer discounts and incentives for home charging stations, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Stack also noted that Arizona is now home to three eclectic vehicle makers: Lucid, which builds cars at Casa Grande, Nikola, which will build trucks in Phoenix and Coolidge, and Electra Meccanica, which plans to build the three-way SOLO commuter. wheels at Mesa. .
“We have a clear sky. No oil change, no muffler work, no transmission, faster acceleration. No smog or smog testing, ”Stack said. “It is priceless.”