SALT LAKE CITY — Amid raindrops and brightly frosted sugar cookies, Rocky Mountain Power officials and clean air advocates celebrated the debut of the state's newest electric vehicle charging stations for a planned regional electric corridor serving Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.
The three level-2 chargers and one fast charger introduced Tuesday can provide electricity for up to seven vehicles and are available to the public at Rocky Mountain Power offices at 1407 W. North Temple.
"This represents our first installment on the WestSmart EV Project for Utah, Wyoming and Idaho," covering 1,500 miles and the result of a $4 million grant the utility company secured through the U.S. Department of Energy, said Gary Hoogeveen, the utility's senior vice president and chief commercial officer.
"Our goal is to create an electric corridor that will enable our customers and the public to travel up and down our state and from Yellowstone Park to Disneyland.”
The electric corridor involves charging stations every 100 miles along I-15, I-84, I-70 and I-80.
During the press event at the utility offices, Hawthorne Elementary School third-graders donning faux hard hats posed for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony and learned about air pollution and its effect on young lungs.
Tammy Cooper, executive director of Utah Clean Cities, said the organization has been working to promote alternative-fuel vehicles for the last 25 years, and the planned corridor represents a viable path to a cleaner Wasatch Front.
"Now EVs are a tipping point. The cars are here, the technology is here and the buyers are here," she said.
With so-called range anxiety being tackled by automobile manufacturers via electric vehicles offering more options along with more charging stations, Cooper said she believes about 85 percent of the people along the Wasatch Front could drive an EV without worry.
Dr. Deborah Burney-Sigman, Breathe Utah's executive director, said as clean as new cars are becoming, nothing beats an electric vehicle.
"The zero emissions from an electric car far surpasses any of them," she said.
During the event, Rocky Mountain Power also announced a $1,250 incentive for any of its employees who buy or lease a new or used electric vehicle.