You can’t spell love without E-V! The difference between electric vehicles and gas guzzlers is that EVs show love back. More people around the country and here in Idaho are realizing that EVs help fight climate change, protect our air quality and public health, and boost our economy. 

EVs were celebrated in dozens of commercials on Super Bowl Sunday, and today is a special day for EVs in Idaho. Two years ago, Governor Brad Little declared February 14, 2020 Electric Vehicle Day. Today we’re celebrating the anniversary of that proclamation by sharing the progress that’s been made since then! 

Governor Little on Electric Vehicle Day in Boise.

In the last few years, we’ve seen electric recycling trucks in Boise and electric buses in both the Treasure Valley and Wood River Valley. The city of Boise also set a goal for the entire Boise community to be carbon-neutral by 2050, and says electrifying fleets will make that goal a reality. Ada County’s recently-adopted transportation plan also shows that EVs are a priority for the county, as they plan to transition county vehicles to electric and map out EV charging infrastructure. Work is also being done at the statewide level to promote EVs and build more connected infrastructure for them. 

While these accomplishments show major strides in reducing emissions from transportation in Idaho, there is still a long way to go. 

Room for improvement

Transportation pollution is Idaho’s leading air quality and climate problem. Our state’s growth exacerbates that problem, and will continue if not addressed. Our expanding population means more vehicles on the road and more transportation pollution. Investing in public transit can address Idaho’s growing traffic congestion, and making sure that transit is powered by clean energy can tackle two problems at once. As the state continues to grow, it’s critical that our transportation options minimize our contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, help protect our air quality, and maintain our quality of life.

Powering zero-emission EVs not only benefits our health, but also our pocketbooks. Idaho currently imports nearly 100 percent of our transportation fuels – and it comes with the big price tag of $2.2 billion. Importing gasoline also exposes Idahoans to price fluctuations, potential disruptions in supply, and international security concerns. The solution – accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and power them with clean energy produced right here in Idaho. This will significantly reduce air pollution, help protect public health, and keep our money in our borders.

An opportunity ahead

More advances in electric vehicles, energy efficiency and other technologies mean that it is now more possible than ever to move forward towards a future powered by renewable energy, but there are still some barriers facing the adoption of EVs.

Taking away barriers for future and current EV owners is vital in reaching an electric future. Idahoans have a beautiful state to explore – and need a way to explore it. Some Idahoans have reservations about buying an EV because they are worried their vehicle will run out of battery before reaching their destination. More charging stations throughout the state would help ease consumer worries. 

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) looks to build a network of EV chargers to facilitate long-distance travel and provide convenient charging options. According to a White House fact sheet, the bill will invest $7.5 billion to build out the first-ever national network of EV chargers in the United States to ensure that. 

Under the IIJA, Idaho would receive $30 million over five years to support the expansion of an EV charging network in the state, especially in rural areas. Idaho will also have the opportunity to apply for an additional $2.5 billion in grants for additional EV charging infrastructure.  

Developing and implementing an EV infrastructure plan is vital in making owning an EV a rewarding experience in Idaho. Other incentives for Idahoans to purchase EVs would also be beneficial, such as rebates, lower registration fees, or offering preferred parking arrangements. 

ICL will continue our efforts to minimize barriers to EV ownership and increase incentives for electric mobility. We’ll also continue to encourage individuals, cities and businesses to purchase EVs and move away from fossil fuels. Here’s how you can do your part to promote EVs in Idaho.

How to help

  • Don’t need a new car, but support EVs? Reach out to your elected leaders and ask them to support EVs in Idaho – such as providing financial incentives for EV ownership, updating building codes so new construction is EV ready, or investing in more EV chargers. The Senate Transportation Committee recently passed a bill to end emissions testing in the Treasure Valley. If we are going to remove emissions testing, we need to simultaneously invest in EV infrastructure and other efforts to clean our air. All of our Idaho leaders know we must all work together to find solutions, and they need to hear from supporters like you. 
  • Stay informed! Idaho has one of the cleanest energy grids in the nation. It’s time we use the energy produced within our borders to power our transportation. Sign up for our climate emails to get updates on when you can take action for Idaho’s climate, energy and electric vehicles!

Thanks for your support in promoting EVs and the benefits they provide for Idaho’s air and climate!