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Environment Montana Research & Policy Center
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Newstalk KGVO
By
Peter Christian

Electric vehicles will be increasing in number in the coming years, and cities like Missoula will need to help create the infrastructure to allow vehicles to recharge while they are parked on city streets.

Skye Borden with Environment Montana said infrastructure and parking challenges can be accommodated with planning and cooperation.

“We’ve produced a report that will help cities start to think about the infrastructural upgrades that can make to accommodate the demands that these vehicles will make,” Borden said. “We simply need more plug-ins for electric vehicles to recharge. A lot of people will be traveling through the Yellowstone to Glacier corridor using electric vehicles and they’ll need to have a place to plug in. We anticipate that in Missoula by 2030 there will be 2,000 electric vehicles owned by people who live in the city limits, and the demand by then will require 73 plug-ins. Missoula currently has two plugs, and six fast chargers.”

Borden said that of the 73 plug-ins expected by 2030, 45 of those will be provided by private businesses for their employees and for fleet vehicles.

For those using street parking, Borden said there will be easy-to use plug-ins available.

“Some will be in parking garages, where the cord will be hanging overhead and can be extended down,” she said. “For others there will be a box similar to a parking meter right next to a downtown parking spot, and the plug can just unroll from there, so they can be pretty small and unobtrusive.”

With more electric vehicles on the road, and many more coming soon, cities need to map out where EVs will charge, particularly in city centers and neighborhoods without off-street parking.