Drive Electric ND trying to spark interest in electric vehicle infrastructure

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BISMARCK, N.D. - There are fewer than 200 electric cars in North Dakota- but the concept has sparked serious interest in energy companies, lawmakers and citizens.

If Destiny Wolf doesn't want to squeeze into her car, her car gives her a little help. She bought a Tesla and is pushing state leaders to build more charging stations for electric vehicles.

"We're losing out on a huge economic opportunity. When people have to bypass North Dakota as a whole because they cannot or feel they cannot take their electric vehicles across the state,” said Wolf. She said a few months ago, she drove over 900 miles for 32 dollars.

The economics of it brought her to a panel with lawmakers and energy companies trying to convince them to invest. Bismarck mayor Steve Bakken says the city should look at spending some money- which could come in the form of grants from a $3 billion settlement against Volkswagen for an emissions fixing scandal.

"People spend money when they're waiting to charge their vehicle. Capturing those dollars from an economic development standpoint by having that infrastructure, it makes sense for all the principles and it makes sense for the taxpayers,” said Bakken.

Drive Electric ND showcased a collection of cars at the capitol in June, along with an electric bus for public transit. Lawmakers say it's not if they come to the state, but when.

"It's going to be here and the people that have them, love them. And eventually, there's a lot of testing that's being done on trucks that's hauling heavy loads,” said Rep. Dan Ruby, R-Minot.

Ruby says the passenger vehicles will probably be the first step. Cass County Electric Cooperative says the West Fargo electric bus has traveled 488 miles this school year and its cost the district $44 to charge the bus.