The number of electric vehicles in Minnesota is growing at a rapid pace.
Now for the first time, state agencies have a an official plan to support the industry’s growth.
“This thing is happening fast,” said Tim Sexton, MnDOT Chief Sustainability officer.
Tim Sexton and MnDOT put together a first of its kind report with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Great Plains Institute. The goal is to outline a vision for this industry.
“A lot of people are saying that their next car is going to be an electric vehicle but we’re trying to help everyone understand what that means,” Sexton said.
In 2011, there were about 400 electric vehicle registrations in Minnesota. That number jumped to nearly 6,000 in 2017. The goal is 200,000 by the year 2030.
“We’ve seen exponential growth in the last three to five years,” Sexton said. “And that growth is expected to ramp up over time.”
But as more electric vehicles hit the street, there are some challenges ahead.
“We still need more infrastructure and we need more education around electric vehicles,” Sexton said.
Better infrastructure includes more access to charging stations on longer trips.
“If we wanted to build a full, fast charging vehicle network in Minnesota, this is one way that we could do that,” Sexton said.
Sexton says part of educating includes relaying the environmental and economic benefits of electric to the public.
“It is intended as a launching point to have that conversation,” Sexton said.
By 2030, Jukka Kukkonen, who is an electric vehicle consultant, is confident the majority of vehicles sold will be electric.
“We have seen such fast growth in other markets that that makes me believe that’s where we’re going,” Kukkonen said. “It’s good to prepare for electric vehicles.”
The report outlines that another challenge with this market is the perceived cost. Many people think luxury cars when they think of electric vehicles. But there are now 26 different electric vehicles from manufacturers including Ford, Honda, and Toyota. Part of the report addresses getting the word out that these vehicles are becoming more affordable and more comparable to gas powered vehicles.