JACKSON (WNE) —Eastern Idaho’s Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative will install five strategically placed Level 3 electric car charging stations along two significant scenic byways, with construction starting in the spring of 2023.
The fast chargers will be placed in Ashton and Island Park, Idaho — two cities along the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway — with another station in Driggs, Idaho, along the Teton Scenic Byway.
Both areas are considered gateways to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.
With Level 3 charging — also known as DC fast charging — motorists can charge an electric vehicle battery to 80% in as few as 20 minutes, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The project is being funded with $900,000 in grants from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and Bonneville Environmental Foundation.
The effort is part of the launch of ChargeWest, an intermountain collaborative committed to improving electric corridors across the western United States. The West Electric Highway interstate partnership, as part of the ChargeWest collaborative, will run through eight western states including Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah in an effort to build infrastructure for rural gateway communities, state and national parks, monuments, recreation areas and scenic byways through public-private partnerships.
“We see a lot of vacation travelers coming to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and they come through our service territory to get there,” said Clint Washburn, the Fall River co-op’s human resources manager who applied for the grants on behalf of Fall River. “We just see there’s a huge need for it. I think there are a lot of travelers who don’t bring their EVs now because of the lack of chargers.”