By Chelsi Jackson
It may not have happened yet, but sooner or later, you’re going to see electric vehicle charging stations popping up where there were none before.
When they do, odds are it will be part of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program that was created by the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in late 2021.
In a plan that has received approval from the Federal Highway Administration, the Indiana Department of Transportation is investing nearly $100 million to build an electric vehicle charging network at strategic locations across the state of Indiana over the next five years.
The NEVI program means that the Indiana Department of Transportation will contract with partners to build Level 3 DC Fast Charge charging stations along Indiana’s federally designated alternative fuel corridors (AFCs). Those consist of I-64, I-65, I-69, I-70, I-74, I-80, I-94, I-265, I-275, I-465 and I-469.
This will feed into a national initiative to create a network of at least 500,000 reliable chargers across the United States to help support the growing adoption of electric vehicles.
NEVI funds must be invested in DC Fast Charge charging stations that are compliant with federal guidelines. Some of the primary requirements are that each station must have at least four ports that can charge simultaneously, be located every 50 miles along an AFC — less than one mile from an exit or intersection — and be accessible to the public 24 hours a day.
Indiana’s plan will result in at least 44 charging stations across the state. Once completed, every Hoosier should be within 40 miles of a NEVI-funded charging station.
Locations are to be determined with federal guidance and a data-driven approach based on electric vehicle miles traveled, EV adoption rates and growth models. Existing and planned stations as well as electric grid capacity are among other factors to be considered while promoting convenient usage by passenger EVs, along with medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.
The NEVI program will also fund 80 percent of the installation of EV charging stations along with up to five years of operation and maintenance. The remaining 20 percent of costs are to be funded by site owner-operators from whom the state of Indiana expects to seek proposals by mid-2023, with the installation of charging stations beginning in 2024.
CHELSI JACKSON is energy advisor at Henry County REMC in New Castle, Indiana