Fourteen States Coalesce Efforts to  “Drive Electric USA”

Fourteen States Coalesce Efforts to  “Drive Electric USA”

April– 1, 2021 ⎼⎼

Salt Lake City, Utah

A partnership of the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Vehicle Technologies, DOE VTO, program recently won over $1.8 million in DOE funding to significantly advance electric vehicle (EV) adoption in their states.

Drive Electric USA shows the unification between Clean Cities across the nation and their overarching goal of improving infrastructure, education and adoption for battery electric vehicles, EV’s. EVs are quickly being incorporated into transportation planning strategies as the newest technology that provides zero emission driving. Now more than ever, good resources providing sound EV education is imperative across various stakeholders in both the public and private sector. With a growing demand for EVs and more auto manufacturers committing to battery electric, the infrastructure and education for this newest vehicle technology transition must be in place for large scale adoption of EVs to be successful. 

“Utah is really a head of the game in the field of EV infrastructure in the Intermountain West touting over 50 DC Fast Chargers. This project will allow Utah Clean Cities to further develop the electrification movement for both passenger vehicles and fleet vehicles within our state while sharing valuable expertise with our regional and national partners.” commented Tammie Bostick, Executive Director of Utah Clean Cities.

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NASEO Releases Electric Vehicle Charging Needs Assessment

Utah Clean Cities Coalition and National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) release the “Electric Vehicle Charging Needs Assessment,” a report that identifies needs and opportunities for electric vehicle (EV) fast charging in rural and underserved areas of the intermountain west.

The Assessment was developed in partnership with the CORWest project, a three-year initiative to support EV infrastructure investment and educational opportunities in rural and underserved areas of the intermountain west, with an emphasis on gateway communities to national parks and other recreational destinations in the region. The CORWest project is a collaboration of the REV West states and Clean Cities Coalitions throughout the region. 

The Assessment summarizes key findings from a questionnaire administered to over 500 local governments, electric service providers, and parks or tourism representatives in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, and also reviews EV registration and mapping data to identify infrastructure gaps and other challenges to EV charging deployment in the region. The questionnaire results confirmed that “range anxiety,” lack of infrastructure near recreation sites, and the cost of the vehicles and stations remain significant barriers to EV infrastructure investment. In addition, respondents across the region cited the need for information and education campaigns, including highway signage, EV-focused tourism campaigns, and ride-and-drives. The report includes a summary of potential actions state agencies and Clean Cities Coalitions in the west can take to address these barriers and advance EV deployment.

To download the Assessment, click here.

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New eastside Zion entrance development may break ground this year

SALT LAKE CITY — In 2019, more visitors drove, walked, and rode shuttles on the 27 miles of road in Zion National Park than on the 251 miles of road in Yellowstone.

That’s 4.5 million visitors in a narrow canyon with one road in and out, making Zion the most popular and the most crowded park in Utah.

And it’s not just limited road space.

Zion has one major visitor center, one lodge in the park, and a long string of businesses in the canyon-constrained corridor of Springdale at the Park’s main entrance.

Kane County Commissioner Brent Chamberlain thinks he has a way to spread out the visitors and the wealth that comes from their visits: a big new visitor center, trail system, and transportation network at the park’s east entrance, where wide open privately-owned land spread out on top of the plateau as cars approach the park boundary.

“We’re getting to the point where we hope we can start breaking ground later this year,” Chamberlain told FOX 13 in an in-depth interview. (Watch below)

Chamberlain says the Zion Mountain Ranch is donating 18 acres to the county where they will locate a $15 million visitor center. The money to build comes from an already-arranged loan from the Community Impact Board.

He also says they have support from the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and Utah Clean Cities. That last group poised to help them create a new transportation authority to oversee a system of electric shuttles running from Kanab into the park from the east.

As part of the project, they’ve committed to making East Zion another center of outdoor opportunities, hopefully alleviating some of the pressure on the few very popular trails in Zion Canyon.

“Kane County will be building about 40 miles of hiking trails, they all originate outside of the park. Two of these will go back into the park. Several of the ones that are there you won’t know if you’re in the park or not because the scenery is identical,” Chamberlain said.

report just published by the Kem C. Gardner Public Policy Institute found the project likely to add over 450 jobs to the area each year and add almost 30 million dollars to the local economy annually. They also found that an improved eastern entrance would increase economic activity in Washington County, home to Springdale and the crowds in Zion Canyon.

Watch the complete interview with Commissioner Chamberlain here:

April 2021