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Minnesota Gearing Up For A Future Full Of Electric Cars

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The Minnesota Department of Transportation announced a new plan to make transit more environmentally friendly. High on the list: Getting more people in electric vehicles.

The state's aiming to make electric 20% of the market share by 2030. The number of registered EVs nearly doubled year over year in 2019, to 10,156. That makes up roughly 1% of the state's market share.

To keep growth moving forward, 28 Minnesota cities have consulted with the Great Plains Institute, investing in things like charging stations and electric vehicle fleets. The charging hubs are there both for people who already own an EV, and as a conversation starter for people who may be in the market.

Cities have also added incentives for private businesses willing to install hubs, following incentives of their own.

"It allows [cities] to attract some tourism," said Diana McKeown, of the Great Plains Institute. "I know a lot of EV owners who look at the map of where the chargers are and make decisions on hotels and restaurants based on that, and I think that's going to happen more and more."

If so, drivers will need their skepticism addressed. Common concerns such as range, price and practicality often prevent people from buying in.

McKeown, an EV owner herself, notes that most EVs will go 150-300 miles between charges, and most charging happens at home. When she runs errands, she consults the website PlugShare. It shows hundreds of charging stations to choose from around the state.

The types of chargers vary. Level one is the most basic, and allows drivers to plug their car into a standard outlet. It's best for people who rely on overnight charges, as that's how long it typically takes to complete a full charge.

Level two requires a 240 volt outlet, which typically costs $1,000-$2,000 to install in a garage. That takes roughly three hours for a full charge.

The most efficient is a DC fast charger, most commonly found at charging stations.

"Those are usually around 25-50kW, and they're starting to come out with even faster ones," said Great Plains Institute's Katelyn Bocklund. "That's going to give you a fully charged vehicle in less than an hour."

As for expenses, EVs tend to cost more money than its gas-powered counterparts, with the expectation that the owner would break even eventually.

"I don't spend any money on oil changes, and the time, for me, that's another factor," said McKeown. "I'm busy just like everyone else is. I have to basically get my tires rotated. That's the only maintenance that has to happen on my car."

Several companies offer a $7,500 tax credit available for people who go electric. Learn more about that her.

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