North Dakota Wakes Up to EV Revolution
Although the United States has plans to be carbon neutral by 2050 mainly by replacing internal combustion engine vehicles with electric cars, the rate of electrification has varied significantly state by state. While pacesetters such as California, Florida and Texas have thousands of electric vehicles (“EVs”), with California containing 42% of the nation’s EVs, others like North Dakota have extremely low EV penetration. With just 266 registered battery electric vehicles (“BEVs”), North Dakota has the least fully electric vehicles of all states.
Not only does North Dakota experience pretty low temperatures which can harm EV batteries and reduce the vehicles’ range, but it also has thinly spread towns and cities, making it near impossible for an EV driver to travel long distances. However, thanks to an increased number of public electric vehicle chargers installed last year, the state seems to have woken up to the electric wave that has been sweeping through the country. More charging stations, especially on major highways, will significantly reduce range anxiety and allow drivers to take electric vehicles on longer trips.
North Dakota is already seeing a bump in electric vehicle registrations that coincides with the increased number of public charging stations. According to the North Dakota Department of Transportation, 100 new electric vehicles have been registered in the state since last May, representing an increase of more than 60%. Still, North Dakota’s electric vehicle industry still has plenty of obstacles to overcome for it to reach the level of California or Florida.
Aside from range anxiety, another issue that is bound to be a thorn in the nascent sector’s side is taxation. Feeling that electric vehicle drivers aren’t paying their fair share to help maintain the roads and highways, some Republican lawmakers have argued that mass adoption of EVs would reduce the state’s tax revenues. Every time they refill their vehicles at the pump, drivers of petrol and diesel-powered cars pay a tax. This money is placed in a fund tasked with maintaining the state’s roads.
In 2019, North Dakota launched a flat annual fee for electric vehicles. Dickinson Republican Rep. Vicky Steiner also sponsored a bill that would have increased the amount EV drivers pay from $120 to $200 per year. Although the bill failed to advance, Steiner says that because electric vehicles are here to stay, the state will have to figure out a way to make sure EV drivers pay their fair share. This may entail reworking vehicle taxation policies and exchanging the gas tax with other ways that would charge vehicles in the state by miles driven.
As more players such as Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE) enter the electric vehicle space, motorists in North Dakota and around the country will have many options of EVs to choose from as they replace their gas-powered vehicles.
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