An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Avista Plans To Boost Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

President Biden wants half of all new cars sold in the U.S. by 2030 to be powered by electricity. That gives the country nine years to scale up its infrastructure to support millions more electric vehicles.

In Spokane, Avista is developing that infrastructure.

In 2016, Avista began an electric vehicle pilot program. 

“We put some chargers out. I think we had over 400 charging ports installed, including seven DC fast charging stations," said Rendall Farley, the utility's manager of electric transportation.

During that three-year pilot program, Farley says Avista learned about how customers used those ports and about their expectations. Then the utility put together an electric transportation plan that it submitted to the state. That approved last week by Washington’s Utilities and Transportation Commission. Now, Avista is reaching out to people thinking of buying electric vehicles.

“We want to make it really easy, hassle free and lower-cost up front for our customers to get charging installed at their business, if they want to electrify their fleets or provide workplace charging for their employees who are commuting," Farley said.

He says the utility is also mapping out where it may install powerful public charging stations, in cities and on well-traveled highways. His expectation is that, as more government agencies and businesses turn to electricity to power their fleets, consumers will follow suit.

“Here in the next year or two we’ll start to see some affordable electric pickup trucks and SUVs and a number of other kinds of vehicles that a lot of the mainstream customers will really want and need and so we want to be ready for that," he said.

You can read more about Avista’s electric vehicle programs at the company’s website.