By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming residents own fewer than 500 electric vehicles, according to a study conducted by the Wyoming Department of Transportation, and experts are split on whether the number will grow much in the coming years.
According to WYDOT’s zero-emission vehicle strategy, there are 456 electric cars and light trucks registered in Wyoming, as well as 11 motorcycles or multi-purpose vehicles. Wyoming has one of the lowest electric vehicle adoption rates in the United States, according to the report.
Most of the state’s electric vehicles, 360, are Teslas, and Teton, Laramie and Albany counties have the highest electric vehicle registration rates in the state.
The demand is huge
The vehicles seem to be growing in popularity, especially in the Cheyenne area, said Dallas Tyrrell, whose family owns several Tyrrell Motors dealerships in southeast Wyoming and northern Colorado.
Tyrrell said the demand for electric vehicles in Cheyenne is “huge”.
“We currently have a waiting list,” Tyrrell told the Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday. “People seem really interested in the concept of an electric vehicle, since they can charge it at home. Many people find that if they are at home they charge their vehicle overnight and they can start the day with a fully charged vehicle.
Tyrrell said once an electric vehicle is sold, a technician will be dispatched to the buyer’s home to install the vehicle’s charger. Charging stations are also being installed for Tesla and other electric cars at dealerships.
Tyrrell’s buyer appeal is not just the cars low impact on the environment, but also the lack of maintenance costs.
“They don’t need an oil change every 5,000 miles,” Tyrrell said. “Each individual wheel has its own engine compared to a standard fuel engine sitting in the front of the vehicle. So it’s a cleaner way to drive, but maintenance costs will also be significantly lower.
Not so fast…
However, Vince Bodiford, owner of the car enthusiast site The weekend walk told the Cowboy State Daily that long charge times and limited range for electric vehicles have dampened demand for vehicles in Wyoming.
“There’s a lot of planning and logistics that go into traveling with an electric vehicle that you don’t need to have with a gas-powered vehicle,” he said. “I’ve spoken to people who are really interested in the concept of electric cars, but the demand just isn’t there.”
The time it takes for an electric vehicle to charge from empty to full is just under eight hours, but this can also vary depending on the type of charging station a person uses. Fast chargers can charge an electric vehicle in less than an hour. Many charging stations in public places use fast chargers.
While Tesla charging stations are found roughly every 100 miles in Wyoming, there are only two non-Tesla charging stations in the state, one in Cheyenne and another in Jackson.
The range of an electric vehicle can vary from 200 to 400 miles.
Bodiford also wondered if the increased supply of electric vehicles as more automakers turn to the environment would also increase demand for new and used internal combustion vehicles, driving up their even higher price.
Fremont Motors CEO Erin Emmert told the Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday that while there has been some interest in electric vehicles such as the Mustang Mach-E or Ford F150 Lightning pickup truck, dealers are not seeing not much demand for electric vehicles in the company’s 11 Wyomings. Locations.
“We had some inquiries and pre-purchases for the Ford Lightning and we sold three Mach-Es,” she said.
Emmert said Fremont Motors is also installing electric vehicle charging stations at all of its dealerships and training technicians to be able to work on electric vehicles, as well as salespeople to be experts in them in anticipation of demand. growing.
“From a dealership perspective, we are ready for electric vehicles,” she said. “We just don’t have any yet.”
As with Bodiford, she said there’s been interest in electric vehicles, but without having one in stock people are hesitant to buy something they can’t see, touch or test.
Neither Emmert nor Tyrrell expect their dealerships to fully convert to electric cars in the near future, but they both said they want to accommodate interested EV buyers as much as possible.