Range Anxiety Drives EV Owner To Rent Gas-Powered Car To Cross Wyoming

It took Alan O’Hashi 15 hours to drive an electric vehicle from Cheyenne to Casper last year. This summer, he tried another long trip to Thermopolis, but had EV "range anxiety" and turned back to Rawlins to rent a gas-powered car.

July 16, 20236 min read

Broken ev charger 7 17 23
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Alan O’Hashi hasn’t had a lot of luck taking road trips across Wyoming in electric vehicles (EV). 

His trips go through the heart of Wyoming, which have long stretches of highway without a lot of charging options. 

In May 2022, O’Hashi took his first trip from Boulder, Colorado, to Cody in a Nissan Leaf, which is kind of the AMC Gremlin of EVs. It’s a low-cost, no-frills electric ride. 

O’Hashi had no experience and limited range compared to other EVs. It took him 15 hours to go from Cheyenne to Casper

Range Anxiety

He isn’t the only one who has trouble getting their EV across central Wyoming. 

On his second trip through the Cowboy State, he was heading home from Thermopolis. He had camped at a KOA campground where he could charge the car on a standard plug — known as a Level 1 charger in EV lingo — and barely made it back to Rawlins. 

On his third trip, he was heading to Thermopolis again, but he got as far as Rawlins, where he came down with a serious case of range anxiety. 

“I just was fed up. I turned around, went back to Colorado and rented a car,” O’Hashi told Cowboy State Daily. “Then, I made my trip up to Thermopolis in a regular ICE [internal combustion engine] car.”

Out Of Service

O’Hashi was hoping that he’d have more charging options for that stretch through the Cowboy State when it was announced that Electrify America would install charging ports at the Kroger City Market. 

When he looked at the plans, he saw that they would be the CCS adapters. The Nissan Leaf uses a different type of plug that is soon to be obsolete in the U.S. 

So, this year he traded his Leaf in for a Volkswagen ID.4, which has the CCS connection. 

He’s since found that even having the CCS plug doesn’t guarantee a charge. 

On Sunday, he drove to Cheyenne, and he pulled into a charging station in Wellington, Colorado. There were four charging ports at the station. Two Rivians were charging up, and the other two ports were out of service. 

Fortunately, he had enough range to get to Fort Collins and was able to charge up there. 

O’Hashi said these problems speak to the impracticality of EV mandates and targets that are coming down the pipeline. 

“Just imagine if there ever gets to be like 50% or 60% EVs on the road. It's not like you pull into the Kum And Go and there's like 10 gas pumps there,” said O’Hashi, who used to live in Wyoming and now calls Boulder home. 

Trip Planner

O’Hashi said he was planning on making a trip up to the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center for its annual pilgrimage event in late July. 

“It’s still up in the air whether I’m going to make that drive,” O’Hashi said. 

He was hopeful there would be more changing options across Wyoming in the years to come, as part of the federal National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program. 

“That would basically make a trip possible from Cheyenne to Yellowstone,” O’Hashi said. 

Those hopes were dashed when the Wyoming Department of Transportation paused the program. 


The department is concerned that the charging stations won’t be profitable for 20 years, and the way the rules are written, if the stations are abandoned, the state could be on the hook for the cost of removal. 

Patrick Lawson, owner of Wild West EV, has said all through the development of the NEVI program that his stations are currently profitable. 

O’Hashi said it didn’t make sense for the department to allow “some bureaucrat” to determine when they’ll be profitable, as opposed to business owners. 

Lawson told Cowboy State Daily the department had consulted with him at times during the early stages of the NEVI program, but no one at the department had discussions with him when they decided to pause the program. 

It’s not just a Wyoming problem. He said only a handful of states have issued requests for proposals for the construction of the charging stations. He’s still hoping Wyoming does work out the issues and resume the program. 

Working Out Bugs

A study by J.D. Power found that over 20% of EV drivers using public charging stations reported the stations were broken or it malfunctioned. 

Lawson said in his experience, about half of Electrify America charging stations are out of service. The company, he said, built out stations really fast using multiple vendors. 

“I think they're kind of working out the bugs, because I know they put in the latest and greatest high-speed stuff,” Lawson said. 

The Wild West EV stations are all working, Lawson said. He had some problems with the stations in Dubois and Lander, because the stations are dependent on cell phone signals to process transactions. They either couldn’t get a signal or the weather would knock out service. 

He had to install a different internet solution, but that resolved the problem. 

“Now it seems pretty solid,” Lawson said. 

Down The Road

O’Hashi said EV technology and infrastructure has a way to go before it’s a good option for most people. 

Besides the high cost of the vehicles, Wyoming isn’t the only state without adequate charging infrastructure. There’s been reports of EV drivers in California driving up the Pacific Coast Highway and not having enough charging stations. 

“There's still major gaps, And for anyone to say that these are the transportation alternatives for the future, we’re talking way future,” O’Hashi said.

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