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Utah, 6 other states pursue regional electric vehicle network

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FILE - An Rocky Mountain Power electric car is charged at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. A regional electric vehicle network spanning 5,000 miles in seven states across the West, including Utah, was announced Wednesd

FILE - An Rocky Mountain Power electric car is charged at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. A regional electric vehicle network spanning 5,000 miles in seven states across the West, including Utah, was announced Wednesday at an energy summit of the National Governors Association.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is among seven states in the West that formalized an agreement Wednesday to develop an electric vehicle charging corridor spanning 5,000 miles.

The memorandum of understanding signed at an energy summit of the National Association of Governors meeting commits Utah, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Idaho, New Mexico and Wyoming to develop a framework for the reduction of "range anxiety."

According to an announcement released by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's office, there are more than 20,000 electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids on the roads in the West, and there is a significant need for the electrification of major corridors.

Under the agreement, states will:

• Develop practices and procedures to promote electrical vehicle adoption by addressing range anxiety and coordinate location of EV charging stations

• Develop standards for EV charging stations, their operation and management

• Pursue opportunities to incorporate EV infrastructure into planning, such as building codes, metering policies and energy generation projects

• Encourage more variety and availability of electric vehicles in the marketplace

The agreement targets the east-west Interstates 10, 40, 70, 76, 80, 84, 86, 90 and 94, as well as the north-south Interstates 15 and 25.

Herbert praised the agreement.

“Utah is proud to take part in modernizing the ‘Crossroads of the West’ through working state-to-state to establish this strategic electric vehicle transportation network,” he said.

“By knitting together the plans of seven key states through cooperative partnerships one to another, America’s travelers will soon be able to experience the wonders of the West while enjoying the innovations of our day and advancing environmental outcomes.”

The announcement builds on the WestSmart EV Project for Utah, Wyoming and Idaho by Rocky Mountain Power. That covers 1,500 miles and is the result of a $4 million grant the utility company secured through the U.S. Department of Energy.

According to the International Energy Association, the number of electric vehicles in 2016 rose to 2 million. China, Europe and the United States total about 90 percent of the electric vehicles around the world.

Elsewhere in the United States, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco are leading an initiative to purchase more than 110,000 electric vehicles for use in public fleets.