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Salt Lake City working to become more EV-ready

Posted at 6:24 PM, Sep 18, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — In 2015, there were more than 1,100 electric vehicles registered in the state of Utah. That number, according to data from the State Tax Commission website, jumped to more than 16,000 in 2022.

Kelbe Goupil is a senior associate of electrification with Utah Clean Energy.

"I started driving electric in 2019," said Goupil. "I wanted to drive something that had zero tailpipe emissions just knowing how bad our air quality is here."

Goupil took FOX 13 News on a tour of some of the EV charging stations across Salt Lake City.

"What we're seeing here is level two charging, which people typically tend to use to sort of top off their tank and you would get about 5 to 10 miles of range for an hour of charging," said Goupil.

She says that would be for day-to-day running errands.

The city said they have 20 free public charging stations.

"There are also charging stations at private businesses like grocery stores or retail centers," said Goupil. "Range anxiety is definitely becoming a thing of the past; we're seeing more and more charging stations pop up."

Goupil says about 80% of charging for an electric vehicle takes place at home.

"Charging accessibility and multifamily housing just isn't there yet. This is definitely a gap in the charging space that needs to be addressed," said Goupil.

It is a gap the Salt Lake City Sustainability Department is working to address.

Back in April, the City Council voted to adopt the electric vehicle readiness update to the Off-Street Parking Ordinance.

Sophia Nicholas, the deputy director of the Salt Lake City Sustainability Department, said this is one way to make future multifamily construction EV-ready, by providing a minimum of 20% EV-Ready parking spaces installed on-site.

"They don't have to install the actual stations for 20% of the stalls, but they just need to be ready, so that as that demand picks up, people will have that option of living somewhere where they can charge at home," said Nicholas.

The Salt Lake City Sustainability Department provided FOX 13 News with numbers on Monday, showing the number of registered electric vehicles in Salt Lake County jumped from 624 in 2015 to more than 11,000 in 2023.

"Supporting electric vehicle infrastructure and the increased adoption of electric vehicles is part of the city's overall climate plan where we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2040," said Nicholas.

Nicholas said the department is leading a community electric transportation assessment that got going last month.

She says one of the things that will help identify if there are gaps where more EV charging stations are needed to support people. Nicholas says that will wrap up in the Spring of next year.

Goupil says there are federal tax credits available through the Inflation Reduction Act to purchase electric vehicles, as well as charging incentives.

For more information, you can visit hub.utahcleanenergy.org.