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Electric Vehicle Usage Increasing in Salt Lake City

Transportation accounts for nearly 50% of the pollutants that accumulate during inversions. Reducing emissions from cars is a great way to protect our air. Electrified transportation is a step towards cleaner air, healthier communities, and a stronger economy.

Graphic depicts air pollution statistics on orange clouds. Text reads: 
"Percent pollution reduced by an EV along the Wasatch Front. 57% PM10, 81% PM2.5, 98% SOx, 90% NOx, 99% CO, 99% VOC."
Electric Vehicles can significantly reduce air pollution.

EVs in Salt Lake City

Luckily, more and more Utahns are investing in electric vehicles (EV). Based on the number of unique charging sessions at Salt Lake City Corporation’s 36 Level 2 public EV stations (not including those at the Airport), there has been an exciting uptick in EV use in Salt Lake City.

In 2019, there were 21,371 unique charging sessions (meaning a car charged for longer than 5 minutes) at Salt Lake City public stations, compared to 12,870 in 2018.

Salt Lake City is following the national trend of growing EV use. According to the Edison Electric Institute, there are close to 1.5 million EVs being driven in the U.S. as of December 2019. Utah has seen its share grow to approximately 2% of total vehicles now comprised of electric, plug-in electric, or hybrid vehicles, and we want to continue pushing that number higher.

With EVs becoming more popular, Salt Lake City is working to strengthen the City’s EV infrastructure. In 2018, SLCgreen and Utah Clean Energy created the Electric Transportation Roadmap. Since then, Salt Lake City has installed 36 Level 2 charging stations at sites around the city, plus over a dozen at the Airport. These stations are free to use for 2 to 4 hours depending on the station.

Support Fellow EV Drivers: Don’t Hog the Charging Stations

Salt Lake City is pleased to see that charging sessions have increased significantly since the stations were initially installed. Up until now, Salt Lake City has not had to enforce the charging time limit. However, because more people are using the stations, drivers need to be mindful of their fellow EV users and respect the time limit.

In 2017, 1,500 sessions exceeded the time limit. That number has grown to 4,600 in 2019. While these only represent a small portion of the total charging sessions (80% of sessions were within the limit), it is still an inconvenience for other drivers who may need to fuel up.

Graphic shows graph of how many sessions exceed posted time limit.

Due to the growing demand for charging stations, the time limits will be actively enforced beginning March 9. Please be courteous to your fellow EV drivers and be mindful of the time limit. Drivers who exceed the posted time limit may be ticketed $75.

Vehicle charging usage may be monitored via the ChargePoint cloud system to determine if a vehicle has overstayed the posted parking time limit.

The public may also report potential EV stall overstays to the Compliance main line at 801-535-6628.

Clean Machines

Although electric cars still rely on electricity which is not (yet) wholly derived from renewable resources, they are still cleaner than gas-powered cars. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the average gasoline-only car produces 381 grams of CO2e per mile, while the plug-in hybrid produces only 191 grams and a battery EV produces only 123.

Graphic compares average CO2 emissions of gas-powered, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles. Stats are described in above paragraph.

In Salt Lake City, EVs still produce some carbon emissions. However, as Salt Lake City moves towards community-wide net-100% renewable electricity, EV transportation will become even cleaner.

EVs are also a boon for air quality. All-electric models put out no tailpipe emissions which means every EV that replaces a gas-powered car will help us notch down air pollution.

The Age of Electric Vehicles

There are many other reasons why EVs are becoming more popular. In addition to cleaner air EVs cost less to maintain and help drivers save money in the long run.

  • You can charge your EV for $.85/eGallon. This is about 2-3 cents per mile, compared to gasoline at a cost of 15-30 cents per mile.
  •  A 2017 report concluded that Salt Lake City residents can save $843 per year in annual fuel costs with an EV compared to a gasoline vehicle.
  • Park for FREE when registered! A city ordinance allows eligible vehicles to park at any metered space in the city for up to 2 hours at no cost.
  • Lower maintenance costs. Because there are fewer moving parts and a simplified engine and braking system, EV owners spend less on vehicle maintenance annually.
  • Lifetime costs of owning an EV are lower than an internal combustion engine vehicle (ICE), thanks to cheaper fueling and lower maintenance costs.

Many people are still on the fence about electric vehicles due to concerns about travel range. While the average electric vehicle can travel between 80 and 250 miles per charge, the number is projected to reach an average of 300 miles by 2023. Given that the average U.S. driver only travels 31 miles a day, for Salt Lake City drivers, your range anxiety may be allayed. There are over 200 charging stations in the Salt Lake City area alone!

For drivers traveling further afield, there is growing demand for more robust EV infrastructure statewide. Recently, the Utah State Legislature proposed a bill to create a charging station network across the state. We hope it passes! Monitor HB0259 here.

Salt Lake City wants to help make electric vehicles accessible. We’ve put together a resource guide with frequently asked questions about EVs here: https://www.slc.gov/sustainability/ev

Check it out!

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