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There Are Only 456 Electric Cars Registered in Wyoming; Will They Ever Catch On?

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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 mixed on whether the number will increase much in the coming years.

According to WYDOT’s Zero Emission Vehicle Strategy, there are 456 registered electric cars and light trucks in Wyoming, along with 11 motorcycle or multi-purpose vehicles. Wyoming has one of the lowest electric vehicle adoption rates in the United States, the report said.

Most of the electric vehicles in the state, 360, are Teslas and and Teton, Laramie and Albany counties have the highest electric vehicle registration rates in the state.

Demand Is Huge

The vehicles seem to be gaining popularity especially in the Cheyenne area, said Dallas Tyrrell, whose family owns multiple Tyrrell Motors dealerships in across southeastern Wyoming and northern Colorado.

Tyrrell said the demand for EVs in Cheyenne has been “huge.”

“We currently have a waiting list,” Tyrrell told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday. “People seem to be really interested in the concept of an electric vehicle, since they can charge them at home. A lot of people are finding that if they’re at home, they’re charging their vehicles overnight and they can start the day off with a fully-charged vehicle.”

Tyrrell said that once an electric vehicle is sold, a technician will be sent to the buyer’s home to install the vehicle charger. Charging stations are also being installed for Tesla and other electric cars at dealerships.

The appeal for Tyrrell’s buyer’s is not only the low impact of the cars on the environment, but also the lack of maintenance costs.

“They don’t require an oil change every 5,000 miles,” Tyrrell said. “Each individual wheel has its own motor versus a standard combustible engine sitting in the front of the vehicle. So it’s a cleaner way to drive, but also maintenance costs will be significantly less.”

Not So Fast…

However, Vince Bodiford, owner of the auto enthusiast site The Weekend Drive , told Cowboy State Daily that the long charging times and limited range of electric vehicles has put a damper on demand for the vehicles in Wyoming.

“There’s a lot of planning and logistics that factor into a trip with a electric vehicle that you don’t have to have with a gasoline one,” he said. “I’ve talked to people who are definitely interested in the concept of electric cars, but the demand is just not there.”

The time it takes an EV to charge from empty to full is just under eight hours, but this also can vary depending on the type of charging station a person uses. Rapid chargers can recharge an electric vehicle in less than one hour. Many charging stations in public places use rapid chargers.

While Tesla charging stations can be found around every 100 miles in Wyoming, there are only two non-Tesla charging stations in the state, one in Cheyenne and another in Jackson.

An EV’s range can vary from 200 to 400 miles.

Bodiford also questioned whether the increased supply of electric vehicles as more and more car producers turn green will also increase the demand of new and used internal combustion vehicles, driving up their price even higher.

Not That Much Interest

Fremont Motors CEO Erin Emmert told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday that while there has been some interest in electric vehicles such as the Mustang Mach-E or the Ford F150 Lightning pickup truck, the dealerships are not seeing much demand for EVs across the company’s 11 Wyoming locations.

“We’ve had a few requests and pre-purchases for the Ford Lightning and we’ve sold three Mach-Es,” she said.

Emmert said Fremont Motors is in the process of also installing EV charging stations across all of its dealerships and is training technicians to be able to work on EVs, as well as salespeople to be experts in them in anticipation of rising demand.

“From a dealer standpoint, we’re ready for electric vehicles,” she said. “We just don’t have any yet.”

Like with Bodiford, she said there is an interest in EVs, but without having any in stock, people are hesitant to buy something they cannot see, touch or test drive.

Neither Emmert nor Tyrrell expect their dealerships to convert fully to electric cars anytime in the near future, but both said they want to accommodate interested EV buyers as much as they can.

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