If you want beautiful scenery, a growing and robust economy, and love spending most of your time outdoors, you’ll love the state of Idaho. But this state isn’t known for its big cities and dense population, which means owning an electric vehicle may not be the best option. Here’s what you need to know about owning an EV in Idaho.
Idaho Charging Infrastructure
Idaho is incredibly behind on building out its infrastructure for electric vehicles. Currently, the state only has just a little over 500 charging stations, and most are in their largest city and capital — Boise. There is currently no state-federal funding program to expand the infrastructure.
How Many Charging Stations Does Idaho Have?
They have 536 charging stations, with a heavy concentration of those stations being in Boise, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls, and Twin Falls. So unless you live in or around one of these major cities, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a public charging station.
Types of Charging Stations
Unlike some other states, Idaho doesn’t have thousands of public chargers. So if you want an EV in this sparse and sprawled-out state, you’ll want to invest in a home charger. But if you live in a larger city, you’ll be able to use the following charging stations.
Idaho has less than 50 free charging stations. These are level 1 chargers and they can take forever to charge your EV, but at least they’re completely free! Just know that using one of these chargers will take over 24 hours to fully charge most electric vehicles, and sometimes even longer.
Unlike level 1 chargers, fast chargers (which also go by DC chargers) are considered level 2 or level 3 chargers. Most can charge your electric car in less than 45 minutes. This is great if you need to get some miles quickly. Idaho has a little over 100 of these options.
CCS plugs are basically charging sockets that integrate the inlets for both AC and DC power. This system setup allows for faster charging. Most electric vehicles like Ford, GM, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, and Tesla can use this charger.
As they’re commonly known in America, J-Plugs are standard charging connectors for electric vehicles. In the United States, these plugs charge almost all non-Tesla vehicles using Level 1 and Level 2 charging stations. Again, these won’t be super fast in some areas but can be if you find a level 2 option.
Where Are the Charging Stations Located?
The majority of public charging stations are found in Boise, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, Burley, and Rexburg.
Cost of Owning an EV in Idaho
Unfortunately for residents of Idaho, buying an EV won’t get you many perks. But, that doesn’t mean that it can’t save you some cash in the long run. Here’s how much it would cost to own and charge an electric vehicle in the state of Idaho.
The Nissan Leaf is one of the least expensive fully electric cars out there. First, it starts for less than $30,000 (keep in mind that this is for the base model). There are two battery choices. The base model S (40 kWh battery) and the fully-loaded SV (60 kWh). Unfortunately, these electric vehicles don’t get the most mileage, so they aren’t great if you need to drive quite a bit. The SV, which is the more expensive option, only offers around 200 miles of driving time before needing to be recharged. However, if you’re looking for a cheap starter EV, and have lots of public chargers available (or charge at home), this car is a decent first choice!
Charging a Nissan Leaf at home can cost around $.11 per kWh in Idaho. Public charging reaches about $.20 per kWh, so it’s a bit more expensive if you need to use it often. On average, you can spend around $4.40 to $12.00 to charge your Leaf.
Tesla Model X
The Tesla Model X is a luxury electric vehicle, so it’s great if you want to show off and be able to rev up your car fast. First, it sports an SUV body style and it has a 100 kWh 410 V lithium-ion, meaning it holds a longer charge and can drive more miles before needing to charge. Because of that, it offers a 333-mile driving range, which is more than the average miles you’d most likely drive in a week! However, you’re looking at a minimum of $45,000 for a used car, which can be expensive for most people. And, if you want brand new, you’re looking at around $109,000 for a new base model. So be prepared for higher costs!
A Tesla will also run you a bit more charging-wise, especially because it requires a specialty connection (whether charging at home or in public). Home costs will stay around $.11 per kWh, but public charging can reach upwards of $.40 per kWh. So you’ll pay between $11.00 to $40.00 to charge your Tesla. Not great, but can be cheaper than filling up an SUV with gas or diesel.
Chevrolet Bolt EV
The Chevrolet Bolt EV has a starting price of less than $30,000 for the base model, so it’s another affordable option on our EV list. Unlike the Leaf, which has a smaller battery size, the Bolt EV contains a 66 kWh lithium-ion liquid-cooled battery, giving it a range of 259 miles per charge, pretty nice! The best part? A Bolt only needs a 110-volt household outlet to charge it at home. These must be 3-prong outlets too, so be sure that’s what you purchase. While this is only a level 1 charger, it’s also one of the most affordable charging options, usually costing less than $500. So just be sure to plug in your Bolt at night and you should be good to go!
Charging your Bolt at home will run you $.11 per kWh (based on Idaho electric costs for residents). Using a public charging station will be around $.20 per kWh. This will cost you around $7.26 to $13.20 per charge.
Hyundai Ioniq 5
We like the look of the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5, and it seems most of the people who are purchasing it do too! And not only that, this vehicle has an estimated battery range of 303 miles, which rivals the more expensive Tesla options. You can choose between a 58 kWh or 77.4 kWh Lithium-ion battery, and both of those options have fast-charging capabilities, which means that your car will charge in less than an hour. While the base model starts at just $41,000, the Ioniq 5 SE with the larger 77.4-kWh battery pack begins at around $43,650.
It will cost around $.11 per kWh to charge at home and around $.22 to charge in public. This means that you can have a fully charged vehicle for just about $6.38 to $16.94 per charge.
Idaho Electric Vehicle Incentives
Unfortunately, Idaho is one of the few states that doesn’t have any state grants or rebates for buying an electric vehicle, and they most likely won’t anytime soon. However, you can still take advantage of federal rebates. Also, they don’t inspect EVs, so you can waive those fees too.
Owning an EV in Idaho Wrap Up
If you’re looking to get incentives for driving an EV or have lots of public charging options, Idaho may not be the best state for you to live in with your electric car. But, if you just want to save money on gas and have a short commute, or want to be more environmentally friendly, you can still own an electric vehicle in Idaho!
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