MAY 26, 2020 – In the 2019 State Legislative Session, electric vehicles were the subject of three pieces of legislation, one of which (SB 2061) directed the Interim Committee on Agriculture and Transportation to study electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The Committee has met twice and heard testimony from the Dept. of Transportation and other organizations including DriveElectricND.
The Lignite Energy Council and DriveElectricND has been working to educate and communicate why EVs are good for North Dakota’s energy industry, including lignite coal. There seems to be a question exactly what can the state do, and what the state should do to support EV charging infrastructure. While the ND Dept. of Transportation and the Committee study the issue, the build out is moving forward.
The Volkswagen Settlement fund has disbursed the first round of grants to support 17 DC Fast Chargers (Level 3) across the state. Nine entities will install 17 EV DC Fast Chargers in 10 North Dakota communities, and Tesla has constructed four banks of eight chargers in four communities along Interstate 94, with two more hubs planned later this year.
With about 150 EVs registered in North Dakota, consumer demand today isn’t overwhelming the charging infrastructure in our state. However, with more charging options we could see more EVs in North Dakota soon enough, regardless of any state legislative action. A recent survey conducted by DEND revealed a strong sentiment that the free market dictate where EV charging hubs should be located, which is exactly what appears to have happened.
DriveElectricND and the Lignite Energy Council will continue to monitor the Committee’s activities to ensure any legislation supports and not hinders the growth of EVs in North Dakota as the 2021 Legislative Session looms just seven months away.