Hey There! Let‘s Talk About Owning an Electric Vehicle in Idaho

So you‘re interested in going electric, but live in the great state of Idaho? Fantastic! Driving an emissions-free EV matches perfectly with preserving Idaho‘s beautiful landscapes. However, our sparse population and infrastructure create some unique challenges compared to other states.

In this guide, I‘ll provide everything you need to know about available charging options, associated costs, incentives, and considerations for smoothly driving an electric vehicle in the Gem State. Time to dig in!

Idaho Seriously Lags in EV Charging Infrastructure

First, the tough news – Idaho ranks among the bottom tier of states when it comes to electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

With around 500 total public charging stations, we have just a fraction of the sites found in EV-friendly states like California and New York. The table below shows how few options are available compared to neighboring West coast states:

StateTotal Charging StationsStations per 100K Residents

And the vast majority of Idaho‘s charging sites are concentrated in the greater Boise area. Drivers in rural counties will struggle to find more than 1-2 stations in their region, if any at all.

This makes relying solely on public infrastructure very difficult for most EV owners in Idaho. Installing a home charger is highly recommended unless you drive minimal miles and live near ample chargers in Boise or other larger cities.

Now, let‘s explore exactly what kinds of charging stations you can find in our state…

Types of EV Charging Stations in Idaho

Idaho offers a patchwork of different electric vehicle charging station options. Here‘s a quick run-down:

Level 1 Chargers

  • Very slow "trickle" charging
  • Add just 2-5 miles of range per hour
  • Free to use
  • Require only a standard 3-prong outlet
  • Best for overnight charging

Level 2 Chargers

  • Faster public charging stations
  • Add 10-20 miles of range per charging hour
  • Around 100 locations in Idaho public spaces
  • Cost approximately $0.20 – $0.25 per kWh

DC Fast Chargers

  • Rapid charging for EVs compatible with CCS/SAE connectors
  • 60-80 miles of range in 20-30 minutes
  • Located at ~100 sites in Idaho‘s main population hubs
  • Rates typically $0.25+ per kWh

Tesla Superchargers

  • DC fast charging exclusively for Tesla vehicles
  • 16 stations positioned mainly along highways
  • Cost around $0.34 per kWh

As you can see, Idaho lacks robust availability of fast public EV charging options. While the stations we do have are certainly helpful, most drivers will need to install a home charger for smooth daily charging…

Home Charging Essentials

Now, let‘s talk about your home charging options – arguably the most important charging solutions for Idaho EV owners.

Level 1 "Trickle" Charging

The most affordable way to charge is by using Idaho‘s relatively inexpensive electricity along with a basic Level 1 EVSE station. Simply plug into any ordinary 110V three-prong outlet and let your EV drink electrons overnight.

  • Adds ~25 miles of range per 8 hours of charging
  • Equipment & installation under $500 in most cases
  • Cost per "fill up" less than $1 at Idaho electricity rates!

The downside is Level 1 charging S-L-O-W-L-Y replenishes your battery. It may not fully recharge EVs with large batteries when relied on as the sole home charging option.

Level 2 Home EV Charger

For faster home charging, a Level 2 EVSE draws up to 50 amps from a 240V outlet – the same used by clothes dryers or ovens. Most electricians charge around $800 to $1,200 for parts and labor to install a dedicated 40-50 amp, 240V circuit with a NEMA 14-50 outlet.

Then you simply connect your Level 2 EV charging station for rapid overnight charging. Expect to pay $500 to $800+ for the wall-mounted equipment.

  • Fully charges most EVs in under 8 hours
  • Adds 10-25 miles per hour of charging
  • Installation cost can be recovered through fuel savings over 2-3 years

I‘ll cover the costs for charging different EVs next. But first, where exactly are public charging stations located in our state?

Public Charging Station Locations in Idaho

Not surprisingly, Boise offers the highest concentration of public EV charging infrastructure. Downtown, shopping centers, and hotels offer ample charging site options.

Other large population centers have at least moderate availability:

  • Coeur d‘Alene – 50+ charging stations
  • Idaho Falls – 35+ chargers
  • Twin Falls – 20+ charging spots

Smaller towns are hit and miss. College towns like Moscow, Rexburg, and Pocatello have between 5-15 public charging ports. But rural areas often have just one or two locations, if any at all.

Highways provide scattered availability via fast charging sites positioned at key rest stops and larger towns. But numerous remote routes still lack any public charging capability.

Bottom line – careful planning around charging stops is essential for long road trips across rural regions of our state. Now, let‘s explore actual EV charging costs…

What Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Vehicle in Idaho?

Here is a comparison of home and public charging costs in Idaho for some top-selling EVs:

EV ModelBattery SizeHome Charge CostPublic Charge Cost
Nissan Leaf40 kWh$4.40$8 – $12
Tesla Model Y Long Range75 kWh$8$15 – $25
Chevrolet Bolt60 kWh$7$12 – $15
Volkswagen ID.477 kWh$8$15 – $17

Actual charging costs vary based on charging speed, battery size, station rates, and your personal electricity rates. But generally expect to pay roughly 50-100% more when using public fast chargers compared to charging at home.

Over the long run, costs to "fill up" an EV still work out notably lower than gas vehicles. Maintenance savings also add up without oil changes, air filters, tune-ups, etc.

Now, what about incentives? Does Idaho offer any perks for choosing electric?

Idaho Incentives for Electric Vehicles

I wish I had better news here. But Idaho is among the least EV-friendly states when it comes to financial incentives or regulations that favor electric vehicles over gas cars.


  • No cash rebates or tax credits from the state for purchasing an EV
  • No reduced license/registration fees
  • Most utilities do not offer special Time-Of-Use rates for EV charging
  • No mandate for charging infrastructure or EV adoption in place

The one saving grace is that federal tax incentives still apply to qualifying new EV purchases in our state:

  • Up to $7,500 tax credit for new EV purchases under current rules
  • Income caps and manufacturer sales thresholds determine actual credit amount

I‘d recommend running the numbers to see if that tax break combined with fuel savings from an EV still work with your budget. Buying used also significantly lowers the overall cost of entry too.

Now, let‘s wrap up with my overarching thoughts on whether owning an electric vehicle makes sense here in Idaho.

The Bottom Line – Owning an Electric Car in Idaho

At the end of the day, owning an EV in Idaho absolutely can make sense, but it takes more planning and upfront commitment than for drivers in most states.

Urban residents who drive reasonable daily mileage and can charge at home should strongly consider going electric. The environmental and maintenance benefits combined with lower fueling costs outweigh higher purchase prices over the long term.

Rural owners face steeper challenges regarding public infrastructure. But installing a home charger still enables reliable overnight charging for local commuting needs. Just be prepared for careful trip planning when traveling to account for sparse rural charging availability.

I sincerely hope lawmakers eventually push forward investments in charging infrastructure and clean vehicle incentives. Once improvements roll out over this decade, EVs will become feasible for virtually all Idaho drivers.

For now though, you need to assess your specific driving habits and budget to decide if plunging into electric vehicle ownership makes sense here in Idaho. Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions!

All the best,
[Your name]

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