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Can you charge a car in Montana? Here’s a Real Life Story

By: Christina Davies
Updated on: February 02, 2024

Today, we’re embarking on an electrifying journey through the vast landscapes of Montana. 

If you’re driving an electric car here, buckle up because it’s time to talk about charging in the land of big skies and breathtaking views. 

Prepare for an adventure filled with range anxiety, unplanned headlines, and some good ol’ Montana hospitality!

The Road Trip Begins

Picture this: Chad Lauterbach, a taxidermist from Los Angeles, decides to make the 3,000-mile journey to Ekalaka, a quaint town in eastern Montana, to volunteer at the Carter County dinosaur festival.

Usually, he’d hop into his trusty gas-guzzling Toyota Land Cruiser, but this time, he opts for an eco-friendly ride—the Tesla Model Y owned by his girlfriend, Allis Markham.

The Challenge of Charging

As Chad and Allis head east from Gillette, Wyoming, the Tesla’s navigation system sends them warning signals. They are about to enter a charging desert with no EV chargers in sight. 

Range anxiety sets in, but they’re not ready to back down from the challenge. 

After all, an electric car can draw energy from any electrical outlet.

When Outlets Become Lifelines

With their EV running on fumes, luck smiles upon the intrepid duo as they spot an unlocked electrical outlet on a utility pole in Ekalaka. 

It’s usually found in RV campgrounds—a rare sight in this neck of the woods. 

They plug in and do their business in town without wasting a second.

The Headline-Making Charge

As fate would have it, the sight of an electric vehicle charging in Ekalaka became front-page news in the local paper, the Ekalaka Eagle

The headline reads “Borrowed Volts,” and beneath it, a picture of the “unidentified electric vehicle” charges away. 

The editor, who multitasks as the assistant editor, copy editor, ad manager, and head of distribution, seizes the opportunity for a quirky story.

The Unanticipated Bill

The town’s hospitality takes center stage when the local power utility, Southeast Electric Cooperative, steps in.

Allis rushes to pay for the “crimes of the UEV,” but the staff finds humor in the situation. 

After some banter and laughter, Chad and Allis settle a $60 bill for the electricity used—a small price for a unique charging experience in the middle of nowhere.

Learning from the Adventure

Chad’s round trip from LA and the charging fees come to about $300, excluding the impromptu electric bill.

The journey shows the need for adaptable charging solutions in remote areas like Ekalaka. 

Tesla owners can invest in adapters for various outlets, ensuring they’re always prepared to juice up their cars wherever they roam.

Embracing Montana’s Charging Future

Tye Williams, the manager of Southeast Electric Cooperative, contemplates installing a formal charging station in Ekalaka. 

While rural areas may not be at the top of the state’s priority list, the demand for electric vehicles is growing, and solutions are needed to support eco-conscious travelers.

The Way Forward

So, what’s the takeaway from this electrifying adventure? 

When driving an electric car, never assume charging opportunities will be abundant. 

Always have a collection of adapters handy, and never hesitate to ask for permission and offer payment when using an outlet. 

Let’s promote common courtesy and respect no matter where we travel.


Does Montana have electric car charging stations?

Absolutely! Montana has electric car charging stations of 80 EV charging locations with 211 EVSE ports. But their availability can be more limited compared to urban areas. Planning your charging stops strategically is essential if you’re embarking on an electric adventure through this scenic state.

How many electric car charging stations are in Montana?

There are approximately 85 electric car charging stations in Montana. You’ll find charging stations scattered throughout major towns and along highways, but it’s wise to check for their locations before hitting the road.

Do all states have EV charging stations?

Yes, electric vehicle charging stations are found in all states, but the distribution varies widely. As electric cars gain popularity, efforts exist to expand charging networks nationwide.

How many electric cars are in Montana?

As of the latest data, Montana has 3260 electric cars. However, with growing awareness of environmental concerns and advancements in EV technology, the number of electric vehicles in Montana is steadily increasing, contributing to a greener future for Big Sky Country.

Final Thoughts

The winding roads of Montana brought us a thrilling tale of electric car charging in the heart of the American West. Chad and Allis showed us the importance of adaptability and kindness in EV road trips, from range anxiety to unplanned headlines. 

As we explore this electrifying frontier, let’s remember to prepare for the unexpected, embrace new charging solutions, and, most importantly, be respectful guests on the electrifying highways of Montana. Happy charging and safe travels!


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