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Past decade sees a surge of electric cars, South Dakota has the fourth lowest number of charging stations nationally

A Tesla charging station in the parking lot of Rapid City's Rushmore Mall.
A Tesla charging station in the parking lot of Rapid City's Rushmore Mall.(Jeffrey Lindblom)
Published: Jan. 1, 2022 at 5:49 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Just over a decade ago in 2009, there was only one electric vehicle on the market. Ten years later, 2019 saw 72.

Over the course of the years, states have adapted with the installation of around 150-thousand charging stations and ports nation wide.

Out of all the states, South Dakota has the fourth fewest per registered vehicle.

Rapid City has roughly ten places to charge an electric vehicle.

However, out of the city’s limits, there aren’t that many to work with.

T.J. Ouelette, a Tesla owner charging his vehicle in the Rushmore mall parking lot, says he’s traveled all over the nation and hasn’t ran into any trouble with charging.

He says the car will map out routes for you that guarantee you can make it to your desired location, and that most hotels have places to charge in their parking lots.

T.J. adds that usually when you’re on a long car ride, you have to stop to use the bathroom anyways... and that having to stop and charge for a half an hour is hardly an inconvenience.

”Then there’s the superchargers here,” T.J. says referring to the Rushmore Mall parking lot, “which will instantly warm it up. I think I’ve been here for about five minutes and gotten 50-miles of range. So, it’s not even an inconvenience really. You have the mall here. You just go, use the bathroom, anything... and it’s really, really quick.”

T.J says the only issues he’s ran into happen when it gets cold out, which affect the battery life. However, he adds that if you keep the car plugged in overnight, that’s not a problem at all.

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