PROMO 64 Transportation - Electric Vehicle Car EV Charging - UniqueMotionGraphics - iStock-1477067152

EV owners in North Dakota call for less politics, more charging stations

© UniqueMotionGraphics - iStock-1477067152
Mike Moen

Click play to listen to this article.

Audio file

(Prairie News Service) It might not be surprising that North Dakota ranks low for electric vehicle adoption, but existing owners say they are frustrated elected officials here resist the movement, making it hard for this consumer activity to flourish in a rural state.

Governor Doug Burgum and the state's two U.S. senators have recently spoken out against regional and federal efforts to aid in the transition to EVs.

PROMO 64J1 Map - North Dakota State Map - iStock - dk_photos

© iStock - dk_photos

Shannon Mohn, a member of the North Dakota EV Owners group and automotive instructor at Minnesota State Community and Technical College, said there is too much politics surrounding the issue, leaving states such as his behind in adding fast charging stations. He wants officials to know there are people in the region not worried about being left in the cold by EVs.

"I don't worry about driving anywhere with my electric car, I really don't," Mohn emphasized. "I can make it there and back without a problem."

He noted a big factor is that he can charge it at home and park it in his garage on cold nights. Mohn acknowledged it takes additional planning to cross North Dakota, given the current infrastructure landscape. North Dakota is using federal money awarded to states to enhance its charging network, but Senator Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., has contended incentives are a waste, arguing there is not a strong market.

Mohn pointed out while EVs might see their range affected by the cold, gas-powered cars are less efficient in the winter, too. He feels dotting the state with more charging stations will naturally attract more EV owners. He also contended there is an economic benefit for rural areas because tourists are likely to make a pit stop in smaller towns if they can charge up.

"I won't go and visit a town that doesn't have a charger if I'm traveling," Mohn explained. "I will bypass their towns and go to a town that does have a charger."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said even with political forces and other factors at play, many forecasts still expect a strong acceleration in EV adoption. Mohn is glad the Biden administration has been aggressive in gaining momentum but feels some mandates invite opponents to ramp up attacks deemed political. He recommends more outreach for the public to learn about the cars as the industry monitors growth trends.