Adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is on the rise in the United States. Numerous automobile manufacturers have committed to bringing more EV models to the market over the next decade, including electric pick-up trucks. Additionally, improvements in battery technology, which have allowed for an increase in the range over which EVs may operate, and more competitive pricing are making EVs a more viable alternative for many Americans. With greater adoption, the demand for charging infrastructure is expected to increase. The recent National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program has provided an opportunity for Montana to plan for EV charging corridors; however, the unique rural context of Montana has yet to be the focus of literature in this arena.
This research synthesis will examine the current state of the practice for EV charging infrastructure in small urban and rural communities. Topics explored will include challenges and best practices in EV charging infrastructure implementation; an examination of current EV charging infrastructure in Montana (what level of charger they are, where they are sited, and what amenities are nearby, and distance to MT’s proposed EV corridors); and the economic impacts of providing EV charging infrastructure in small urban and rural communities. In such communities, users can plug in their vehicle and explore and/or recreate in the surrounding area. The goal of this research project is to understand the current state of the practice of EV charging infrastructure implementation in small urban and rural communities and how implementation of EV charging infrastructure can provide economic benefits to these communities. This information can help MDT implement EV charging infrastructure in a way that will best serve the traveling public in a cost-efficient manner while improving access to amenities, tourism, and recreational opportunities available in Montana's small urban and rural communities.
The proposed research project does not aim to duplicate efforts from the recent Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)/Montana Department of Transportation electric vehicle planning process. While some of the work may complement or build upon these efforts, this research effort will focus on understanding the experiences and economic benefits that small urban and rural communities have seen with implementing EV charging infrastructure.
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