Missouri in top 10 for EV charging access

Ameren Missouri hosted a ribbon cutting Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, to unveil three electric vehicle charging stations. They are located in the parking garage at the Courtyard by Marriott in Jefferson City at Missouri Boulevard and U.S. 50 (the site of the former St. Mary's Health Center).

Business is booming for electric vehicles and charging alike, and Missouri is among the states with the most even balance between the two.

Missouri has 6,740 registered electric vehicles (EVs) across the state with 985 charging stations available, based on a new study compiled with data from the U.S. Department of Energy, making the ratio of vehicles to charging stations 6.84. That puts Missouri at the No. 7 rank among the rest of the U.S., according to the report released Monday by financial comparison firm Forbes Advisor.

Missouri also outpaces the states proceeding it in the ranking in terms of the sheer number of registered EV drivers and charging locations. North Dakota, the top-ranked state, had only 220 registered EVs and 69 charging stations, putting the state at a ratio of 3.18 cars to one EV charger.

None of the other states ahead of Missouri -- which include Wyoming, Rhode Island, Maine, West Virginia and South Dakota -- surpassed 2,000 registered EVs, putting the Show-Me State's EV population head and shoulders above those states with better ratios.

EVs and infrastructure are becoming more commonplace around the state, including locally: There are 75 EVs registered in Cole County, according to data provided by the Missouri Department of Revenue.

The county also features nine charging locations, according to EV advocate group Electrify Missouri, giving the county a rough ratio of 8.3 EVs per public charger.

These locations include Culver's, Nissan of Jefferson City and the North Jefferson Recreation Area. A pair of chargers, located at the Courtyard by Marriott, were installed in 2020 in collaboration with Ameren Missouri, the area's energy provider.

Ameren has led with a focus on EV charging infrastructure, installing charging infrastructure all acoross the state with more than 100 in the St. Louis area alone.

The company also encourages EV charger adoption, offering incentives for businesses to install chargers at a reduced cost while allowing them to set their own prices for the energy provided. Ameren offered a total of $5 million in these incentives last year.

Ameren is also part of a multi-company coalition working to expand infrastructure throughout the Midwest, seeking to meet the rising demand for EVs that is estimated to see more than 18 million EVs on the road by 2030, requiring 9.6 million chargers to keep pace.

A spokesperson for Ameren did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the ranking.

Missouri's major metro areas, St. Louis and Kansas City, have contributed to accessibility as well, working with local partners to expand electric public transportation, build infrastructure in easily-accessible areas and enact policies that promote the emerging industry.

The states with the highest ratios, meanwhile, are seeing demand vastly outweighing supply. Lowest-ranked New Jersey saw a ratio of 46.16 registered EVs to a single charging station, with 30,420 registered EVs and less than 660 charging stations, around 300 less than Missouri features.

"The electric car industry is growing at a rapid pace for numerous reasons, including rising gas prices, as well as electric vehicles being an eco-friendlier mode of transport," a spokesperson for the service said in a statement. "However, these findings offer a fascinating insight into the disparity between states when it comes to accessibility for drivers of electric vehicles."

Other states saw high numbers of EVs but a lack of infrastructure, with Arizona, Washington, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Oregon, Florida, Texas and Nevada rounding out the 10 least accessible states for EV drivers.

The EV business is booming across the U.S., according to the Department of Energy. Light-duty EV and hybrid vehicle sales nearly doubled from 2020 to 2021, the department recently reported, reaching more than 608,000 sales last year. There are currently more than a million EVs on U.S. roads.

Further growth over the next few years is also a major focus: The emerging industry also has the attention of the federal government, with a myriad of incentives and grants available for businesses and governments to build out their EV networks. Missouri was also awarded $14.6 million in funds for the 2022 fiscal year to expand its network through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed on Capitol Hill last year.