NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — A record 6.6 million electric vehicles were sold worldwide in 2021, double from the year before, according to the International Energy Agency.

There are groups, government plans, and incentives to get more electric vehicles and charging stations in North Dakota.

“Whether you like them in particular or you don’t, they’re here already. They’re coming,” said Tom Rafferty, the member services manager for Verendrye Electric Cooperative.

Verendrye Electric Cooperative provides electricity to homes, farms, and businesses in seven counties in the state.

One of the cooperative’s goals is to increase awareness and ownership of electric vehicles.

“And so we’re doing the research by owning one and we’ve done a lot of research on them and we want to know how they work,” said Rafferty.

Rafferty says in addition to electric vehicles being a cleaner option than gasoline-powered vehicles, government incentives can make the cost of an electric vehicle more affordable.

“The operating costs, the energy costs is definitely cheaper than a gasoline vehicle when you compare it. Gasoline is gasoline. You can have more efficient engines and so some other things, but with electricity, it’s just gradually becoming cleaner,” said Rafferty.

But in North Dakota winters, driving an electric vehicle may not be efficient.

“When you see a commercial advertising the electric, maybe a pickup and they say you get 300 miles on a charge, if it’s winter in North Dakota and it’s really cold, cut that in half. So you can lose easily 50% of your range in the winter,” said Rafferty.

But a 50% loss in the range is only when it’s extremely cold.

“If it’s 30 degrees above, maybe I’m only losing 30% of my range. But if it’s 20 below zero, I’m definitely losing half of my range,” said Rafferty.

Besides less driving range in the winter, another potential drawback of owning an electric vehicle in this state is the lack of charging stations.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation is creating a charging infrastructure plan, but it will focus on building chargers along certain routes.

“They don’t want to put any the first year, other than I-94 and I-29 so up here in Minot, we’re not getting any help from that whatsoever. And the other obstacle there, they’ve got to find companies or stations, maybe gas stations, that want to participate in it,” said Rafferty.

Rafferty says right now, electric vehicles make a good option for a second car.

In the future, the U.S. is expected to have as many as 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations.