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Forget The Cities, Are Rural Kansas And Missouri Ready For Electric Vehicles?

Electric Car Charging Station with two charging cables on a sidewalk by the curb of a parking spot.
Roger Stames, Sr.
Adequate public charging stations like the one above is one of the obstacles to electric vehicles gaining a foothold in rural areas.

Last year, there were only 6,000 fully electric vehicles registered in Missouri and half that number in Kansas.

Optimism is growing that country residents could benefit by switching to electric vehicles (EVs).

"The research has shown that people in rural areas drive as much as 50% longer than those in urban areas," says energy reporter Brian Grimmett.

"It's cheaper to charge your electric vehicle than it is to put gas in your car," he observes about rural drivers.

Worries over the range of EVs are lessening as new models now can go between 250 and 400 miles on one charge.

Grimmett acknowledges that there are not enough charging stations in rural areas.

In Kansas specifically, Grimmett reports, "There's a whole corner of the state, the southwest corner of the state, where there are no high-speed, fast chargers at all."

The infrastructure on the major highways like I-70 and I-35 is getting better, but for rural commuters forced to charge at home, an electric vehicle can still fulfill their daily needs.

And for those needing a pickup to meet the demands of country life, Ford is already producing an electric version of its popular F-150 model, which could come very close in price to its combustible engine counterpart.

  • Brian Grimmett, energy and environment reporter, KMUW, Kansas News Service
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