Wyoming pauses plans for EV charging network, citing longterm financial concerns

The WYDOT team calculated that the stations would not be profitable for twenty years.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
Wyoming legislators are temporarily pulling the plug on a proposed electric vehicle charging network, citing concerns about profitability down the road.

The infrastructure would have been heavily subsidized by the federal government for the first five years, however after that private operators would be tasked with maintaining them, leading some experts to warn that the stations might not make financial sense.

According to the Cowboy State Daily, the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program would have given Wyoming $24 million over five years to construct 17 charging stations, so long as there was a 20 percent match from private businesses.

The Wyoming Legislature’s Committee met in late May to discuss the feasibility of the plan.

At the event, Wyoming Department of Transportation Interim Director Darin Westby said that his team had calculated that the stations would not be profitable for twenty years, long after the federal funding had run out.

Westby explained that private operators would not be obligated to continue hosting the charging stations on their property, and that they had the option to have it removed at the state's expense.

"It was ready to go out the door," he said of the proposed plan. "At the last moment, we pulled back and said, 'let's pause' ... The last thing we want to do is to take more money off of the roads and pay that back to the federal government."

In an interview with the Cowboy State Daily, Wild West EV owner Patrick Lawson suggested the WYDOT's calculations were off, and that he believed the operation would be profitable after just five years.

"I don't think any of them are going to be abandoned unless they're just poorly managed," Lawson said of the stations.

Wyoming is a rural, sparsely-populated state, and many have called into question residents' ability to utilize electric vehicles given the range of current models.

Earlier this year, Wyoming lawmakers moved to ban the sales of electric vehicles in the state by 2035 to protect the state's oil and gas industries. However, that bill did not pass out of the committee it was referred to.

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