Every year, more and more Idahoans are feeling the love for electric vehicles (EVs). When you think about it, it’s not surprising—EVs save you money in the long run, help fight climate change, protect our air quality and public health, and boost our economy. In other words, EVs show their love back to you—not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day of the year. 

Valentine’s Day is a special day for Idaho EVs and their owners… and it’s not just because you can’t spell love without ev. On this day in Idaho in 2019, Governor Brad Little declared it Electric Vehicle Day! Today, we celebrate the clean road and progress that EVs have made in Idaho since then.

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. In West Central Idaho, newly installed EV charging stations just came online this year at May Hardware in McCall, making EV travel through Idaho easier than ever.

While these accomplishments show major strides in reducing emissions from transportation in Idaho, there is still a long drive ahead on the road to carbon neutrality.

New electric vehicle stations came online in McCall in early 2024.

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. An expanding population also means more vehicles on the road—thus 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 Idaho’s population 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

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. Still, there are some barriers facing the adoption of EVs. Working to remove those barriers for future and current EV owners is vital in arriving at 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. For people with those concerns, consider hybrid versions which are cost competitive compared to traditional combustion-only models. Also, an increase in EV charging infrastructure—which is happening right now in Idaho—is starting to help ease those 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, to make this happen the bill will invest $7.5 billion to build out the first-ever national network of EV chargers in the United States. 

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 recently applied for an additional $2.5 billion in grants for additional EV charging infrastructure. The first round of NEVI charging sites that prioritize I-84 will be located in two of the three cities (Lewiston, Bliss, and/or Pocatello), with expected construction to be completed in 2025. The second round of NEVI funding will allow Idaho to add charging stations on state highways, such as US-95, that are crucial in linking together north and south Idaho.

 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. Now, let’s chat about how you can show your love for 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. 
  • 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! Whether you make an investment in the clean energy transition by buying an EV or by raising your voice as a climate advocate, you are making an investment into the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the lands and wildlife you love.