DENVER — Urban centers across the country are experiencing strong growth in electric vehicles, driven by high customer satisfaction and financial subsidies.
However, the same level of interest has not translated to rural America, where range anxiety is a valid concern according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division.
Until electric vehicles can travel a minimum of 200 miles on a single charge and are priced similar to internal combustion engine vehicles, adoption in rural communities will likely remain muted.
“By 2025, penetration of EVs in rural America is expected to remain below 1 percent, but by the time it reaches 3 percent of new car sales in rural America, technology will be much better than it is today,” said Taylor Gunn, lead economist with CoBank.
“Some rural electric cooperatives will have customers on the edge of urban and suburban America and may want to consider building public infrastructure. But for now, most rural electric cooperatives are unlikely to realize material growth in EVs, limiting any near-term EV-related growth in electricity sales.”
Future advances in battery technology will mean that EVs will travel hundreds of miles on a single charge, thereby reducing driver’s dependency on public charging infrastructure and reducing the costs shouldered by rural electric distribution cooperatives when deploying this infrastructure.
“When and if EV penetration rates justify a system-wide charging network, improved battery and charging technology will provide significant savings for the cost of this infrastructure to rural electric cooperatives,” said Gunn.
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