CASA GRANDE — Despite electric vehicle manufacturing taking off within Pinal County, Arizona ranks in the middle of the pack for “EV friendliness,” according to a recent study.

The study, commissioned by Bumper.com, rated states on how amenable they are to EV owners. Arizona ranked 15th overall, despite being seventh in total EV registrations as of 2020.

“Arizona is doing well overall,” said data analyst Julianna Ohlander, who compiled the rankings. “A lot of growth, such as installing EV charging stations, has been in just the last few years.”

Currently there are just over 800 EV charging stations, and 2,000 ports, in Arizona, mostly in the Phoenix and Tucson metro regions. Casa Grande has three such stations, with a handful of other Pinal locations in places like Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino and the Pinal County Courthouse in Florence.

Ohlander said she looked at a number of metrics related to infrastructure, including how many charging stations were in each state, how many ports were available for each station, what tax incentives and rebates there were and the overall cost to recharging a vehicle.

Currently in Arizona, it costs around 10 cents per kilowatt hour, which Ohlander said equates to approximately $35 to travel 1,000 miles in an EV. At current gasoline prices in Arizona, the operating costs for an EV are lower; however, a strict cost comparison is complicated by EVs’ higher sticker prices.

Ohlander also said she’d be interested in working on a “longitudinal” study that would show which states are moving forwards or backwards, and how quickly, on accommodating EVs.

“It’s really all about infrastructure,” Ohlander said, “and if Arizona makes a goal to invest in that.”

Ohlander said she supports President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan and that it was in states’ best interests to move with those trends.

At the moment, Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona Republicans who control the state Legislature have opposed mandating renewable energy standards by either the Arizona Corporation Commission or the federal government.

Ohlander also noted a number of EVs are cost-comparable to gasoline cars, although many of those are minis or have short ranges before needing to be recharged.

The Lucid Air, whose limited-edition Dream varieties will be delivered this month to customers, sells for $170,000. At a Production Preview celebration last week, CEO Peter Rawlinson said they would be working on more affordable models over the next few years that could cost in the $70,000 range.

“Lucid seems like a really interesting car,” Ohlander said. “To have everything so compact and as much trunk space as an SUV is great. As more and more EVs come out and there are more options for people, we will start seeing a lot more on the road. People like choices.”

Those looking for more information on EVs and state-by-state breakdowns can visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center at https://afdc.energy.gov.

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Aaron Dorman is the Casa Grande reporter at PinalCentral, covering government, schools, business and more. He can be reached at adorman@pinalcentral.com.

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