Wind River Internet, which provide fiber optic and internet services in the Wind River Indian Reservation and Fremont County through Wyoming's challenging backcountry conditions, are considering the electrification of their vehicle fleet.
During a recent hearing with the Wyoming Public Service Commission, Patrick Lawson, the executive manager of Wind River Internet, revealed that the company conducted a cost analysis comparing gas vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs).
The study demonstrated that transitioning to an electric fleet could reduce costs by up to 50% over the vehicles' lifespan.
This significant cost savings is attributed not only to reduced fuel expenses but also to the lower maintenance costs associated with EVs.
EVs Outperform Even in Cold Weather
Lawson shared with Cowboy State Daily that he personally tested the performance of a Rivian and a Ford F-150 Lightning under the demanding job conditions over the past year.
Even in extremely cold temperatures as low as negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit, EVs outperformed gas vehicles, which struggled to start.
The electric trucks' batteries can also serve as on-the-go power sources, negating the need to carry a separate generator.
Wind River Internet charges their vehicles at their office and covers daily distances ranging from 100 to 250 miles. They have ordered four Ford F-150 Lightnings, scheduled for delivery in the upcoming fall.
Promoting Electric Transportation in Communities
The Wyoming Public Service Commission is actively seeking to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles in the transportation sector. This endeavor would require establishing more charging stations to support the growing number of EVs.
During the recent hearing, the commission collected public input regarding whether standards for electricity rates for charging station operators should be determined by utility companies providing power or by the state itself. However, no conclusive decision was reached by the commissioners.
Concerns were raised by utility companies like Rocky Mountain Power, which argued that favoring one sector within a competitive marketplace could potentially violate Wyoming's law that mandates uniform rates.
On the other hand, Black Hills Energy emphasized the importance of rate design for EV charging to incentivize investments in charging station infrastructure and EV adoption.
They pointed to the success of EV-only charging rates in Colorado, which increased the number of fast-charging stations.