Owning an EV in Montana: Charging Cost, Incentives, and More

Helena skyline during the day

Owning an EV in Montana: Charging Cost, Incentives, and More

Outdoor enthusiasts in Montana have acres of land to explore, but often at the cost of fewer bars on their cell phones and unpredictable weather conditions. And when it comes to owning an EV in Montana, let’s say it’s best to hold off. Here’s why.

Montana Charging Infrastructure

As a potential EV owner, you’d be interested in knowing whether Montana has a charging infrastructure. The Treasure State is among the states with a small charging infrastructure. And as things look right now, they probably won’t update structures for a while.

How many charging stations does Montana have?

Montana only has around 90 charging stations, most of which are located in Bozeman.

Types of Charging Stations

If you still want to get an EV, even with Montana offering little to no benefits, you’ll need a charging station or be able to find a public option. Here are the types that will be available.

Home chargers

A 120-volt charging cable—officially known as Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment—is a standard accessory with any EV. One end of the cable goes into your car’s charging port, while the other connects to a grounded socket.

Level 1 charging is essentially a standard 120-volt outlet. This method takes a while to charge, but if you don’t travel far and can do it every night while you sleep, it might work for you.

However, a majority of EV owners decide to install a Level 2 charger in their residences. If your current electrical box and your home electric service can accommodate a 240-volt plug, this is a reasonable upgrade. The reason is EV can charge a lot faster with a 240-volt outlet and a Level 2 charger (under 8 hours).

Free stations

Level 1 or level 2 chargers are typically used at free stations (similar to home chargers), which can assist you in recharging your vehicle. However, don’t expect these chargers to juice up your car fully. Usually, these have time limits of an hour or less, or until you’re through with your grocery shopping.

CHAdeMO connectors

tesla supercharger vs chademo
CHAdeMO is a Japanese phrase that translates to English as “How about a cup of tea?”, referring to the time it would take to charge a car.


These connectors convert alternating current (AC) at the charging station into direct current (DC) to charge the vehicle’s battery. You’ll most likely need this connector to charge your Nissan or Toyota EV.

CCS plugs

A CCS connector integrates single-phase AC, three-phase AC, and DC high-speed charging. The CCS consists of the connector, inlet combination, and control activities. Various EVs support CCS plugs. However, without an adaptor, these plugs cannot work with CHAdeMO charging systems, especially with Nissan or Toyota EVs.

J1772 chargers

The SAE J1772 Level 2 charger is a global EV charging standard. The Type 1 connector, sometimes known as a J Plug, has a maximum output of 19.2 kW and is common in electric vehicles (EVs) in North America and Japan. It uses a single phase of 120V in the US to operate. Most electric vehicles can connect to a J plug charger, except Tesla.

Where are the charging stations located?

Most charging stations in Montana are found in Bozeman, Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, and the capital city Helena.

Cost of Owning an EV in Montana

Montana is not the best option for owning an EV. But if you still want one for personal reasons, we recommend these cars.

Rivian R1S

Best tires Rivian R1S
Rivian R1S at the New York International Auto Show 2019, at the Jacob Javits Center.

©Miro Vrlik Photography/Shutterstock.com

The R1S accelerates scoots to 60 mph in just over 3 seconds, and is great for off-roading, or exploring the great outdoors. The large-pack (135 KWH) battery option increases the amount of charging miles to 316 from the standard battery pack’s 260. But either choice will get you a decent drive time on a single charge. The standard battery pack starts at $79,000.

Montana is one of the cheapest states for home charging, costing only $.12 per KWH, much lower than the national average. You will likely spend around $12.60 to charge your EV from zero to full charge. However, public charging is incredibly expensive in the state, costing around $.37 per KWH, or $38.85.

Tesla Model X

The Tesla Model X offers a driving range of around 348 miles, the highest on this list. This makes it perfect for daily commutes or even occasional traveling. But it’s also the most expensive, with the base model starting at around $120,000. Model X has a 100 kWh 410 V lithium-ion battery and can go from 0 to 60 in less than 5 seconds, well worth it if you’re after convenience and speed.

Indoor charging costs about $.12 per KWH, while outdoor charging costs about $.36 per KWH. Expect to spend anywhere between $12.00 and $36.00 to juice up your car. As you can see, charging at home in Montana is significantly cheaper.

F-150 Lightning

The Lightning is the sole electric truck in the Ford lineup. The crew cab runs on a 131 kWh lithium-ion extended-range battery installed on the floor and uses a one-speed gearbox to drive two permanent magnet motors, making the Lightning a four-wheel-drive truck. It can tow upto 8,600 pound of cargo capability carry a maximum payload of 1,656 pounds. F-150 is EPA-rated for around 300 miles. If you need a truck that can haul but want to skip the gas stations, this a fanastic choice.

Charging the Lightning will still run you about $.12 per KWH at home, or $15.72 in total. Public charging is expensive, at $.42 per KWH. So it could cost you as much as $55.02 for a full charge.

Subaru Solterra

subaru solterra
Solterra has an outstanding all-terrain capability and more ground clearance that most EVs.

©VanderWolf Images/Shutterstock.com

Subaru Solterra has an all-wheel drive and a 72.8 kWh battery pack with a 228-mile range. Two 80-kilowatt motors in the Solterra produce a combined 215 horsepower and 249 pound-feet of torque. While not the fasted EV in this list, it at least gets the job done for $46,000.

The Solterra comes with a home charger for Level 1 charging that uses a 120V outlet, although this approach is incredibly slow. Instead, we recommend installing a Level 2 charger in your house if you can swing the cost.

You’ll spend $0.12 per KWH at home and around $0.29 per KWH at public charging stations. As a result, the price ranges can be between $8.74 and $21.11.

Montana Electric Vehicle Incentives

Montana doesn’t offer any electric vehicle incentives for residents or businesses at this time. They also don’t have any programs that offer rebates for charging stations. They are one of 10 states that don’t have any incentives at all for their EV residents.

Owning an EV in Montana Wrap Up

We don’t recommend owning an EV in Montana, but if you still want to purchase one, the cars we mentioned above can give you the most bang for your buck! We hope that Montana will come around to electric vehicles in the near future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Montana have an electric vehicle tax credit?

No, they do not. And, there are talks of charging residents with EVs extra money year to year.

How much is EV registration in Montana?

Around $130 a year if your car weighs 6,000 pounds or less, although larger vehicles will have to pay more.

How many electric cars are in Montana?

Montana only has around 1,600 EVs registered in the entire state.

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