EV Tourism in Northeast Iowa, an opportunity for Rural Iowa to get on the Map
by Josh Dansdill, RC&D Business Development Project Director
I was recently asked, what did you learn upon completing an EV Tourism Study for Northeast Iowa? The first word that came to my mind was, opportunity. An opportunity for Northeast Iowa to claim itself as an EV-friendly vacation destination. It seems that many communities and regions have yet to connect to the electric vehicle market especially in the Midwest. With Northeast Iowa’s strong history of tourism travel, already seen as a destination by many, remaining accessible to all drivers will provide a large economic benefit to the region. With the expected growth of EV sales, a larger percentage of vehicles on the road will be EVs, meaning these users will be seeking out places that have the resources they require to travel. Building EV charging infrastructure in our communities provides an opportunity to market the region as an EV-friendly destination to attract these drivers as they research and plan out routes for their trips.
Northeast Iowa’s rural communities could benefit from putting themselves on the map for EV tourism. In order to travel to and among our towns, EV tourists are going to require chargers that don’t yet exist or are few and far between. Communities will need to plan and implement charging resources to maintain the current level of tourism in the region, in addition to attracting new travelers. As communities in Northeast Iowa begin to plan and implement EV charging stations, it will be important to think about what users want when plugging in their cars. EV users have expressed a need for charging to be located in lighted, well-maintained areas with access to amenities such as bathrooms, downtowns, recreation, etc. Users refuel for anywhere from 20 to 40 to 60 minutes, so chargers tucked away in dark corners of alleys or in parking lots far from anything to do as don’t draw tourists. Once again, we need to focus on creating an opportunity for travelers to get out and experience what your rural community has to offer. Once tourists have enjoyed the amenities in our wonderful towns, while refueling their EV, they will include your community on their route in the future!