The US Departments of Energy and Transportation informed us a few weeks ago that all 50 states had submitted preliminary proposals for consideration for financing under last year’s Infrastructure Bill. Long-term objectives call for installing 500,000 EV charging stations, but states must start with key thoroughfares, which is the focus of this year’s plans.
In this article, I’ll discuss some data from previously covered states, a few new ones, and some broad trends we should watch for in the deployment of charging stations in the future.
CERTAIN OF OUR PRIOR COVERAGE I have so far covered plans from Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. I want to quickly go over these states before I examine any new ones.
The first state to submit a plan to the federal government was New Mexico. One of the most intriguing things I saw immediately away was how much PUBLIC COMMENT it received. One of the most crucial pieces of advice the public provided to the state was that charging stations should be constructed with the goal of prioritizing closing charging gaps first and foremost. Interstates were important, but so were rural areas.
New Mexico seems to solely care about the interstate charge minimums set by the federal government. Although there are just three in the state, interstates are nevertheless important. US and state highways crisscross the remainder of the state; according to one source, although being roughly the same size as Arizona, New Mexico has twice as much roadway mileage.
Most of the money will be left over after making a small investment in interstate freeways to fulfill the needs of the remainder of the state.
Arizona used a similar strategy for charging station placement (covering interstates sparingly in order to save money for rural highways later), but it chose a totally different strategy for matching funding. They provided some fundamental details about the EV charging plan, funding sources, government regulations, etc. in a public presentation. The state also disclosed that it is not using any state funding for the project and has chosen to work with a private partner to cover the matching expenses (which would be unpopular in a red state).
Regarding preparations for further stages of the Infrastructure bill, the Texas plan expanded into more detail. Following are the objectives of its plan:
Texas is backing a million electric vehicles. On interstate routes, there are quick EV charging facilities no more than 50 miles apart. Otherwhere in Texas, there are fast EV charging stations no more than 70 miles apart. There are numerous route and pricing options for all trips. At least four plugs are available in pull-through spots for trailer-trailer drivers. Known locations from numerous third-party applications (so people can find stations and plan trips) Texas is prioritizing interstates, as are the other states, and leaving money for rural areas. After five years, it appears that the aim is to have at least one station in each county’s county seat, enabling transit on state, US, and interstate routes.
California’s strategy is very different (ANDAMP; THERES A GOOD REASON WHY) California is essentially the center of the development and adoption of electric vehicles, as opposed to Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. It has a far more elaborate and ambitious plan as a result.
The first thing to keep in mind is that California is in many respects already ahead of the curve. The majority of EVs on the road, the majority of charging stations, and overall public understanding of EVs are all concentrated in this state. This offers it a benefit because EVs and charging infrastructure are concepts that consumers are already familiar with.
With this lead start, California has a lot of federally compliant charging stations already installed along its alternative fuel corridors. But there are also several stations along these circuits that fall short of the standards (number of stalls, charging speed, etc). As a result, it was decided to upgrade a number of them rather than build entirely new stations.
ALABAMA I then wanted to investigate Alabama’s strategy. I’ve looked into red states, rural states, and the top EV state, but I wanted to see how the South varied from Texas to other states in the region.
With one significant distinction that intrigued me, Alabama’s plan was somewhat like to what I observed in Texas or Arizona: a plan to concentrate on hurricane evacuation corridors along with the initial wave of interstate stations. In order to assist with storm evacuation, this implies that in addition to the typical stations along interstate routes, there will also be some stations running from the coast to locations further inland.
NEXT YORK I chose to look to the Northeast to complete my unscientific study. Although New York doesn’t have the same EV momentum as California, it is a very populous state with many residents who want to be able to drive electric vehicles.
New York still has a lot of highway that needs more stations, but it currently has certain short interstate corridor stretches that are built out and fulfill with federal regulations. However, there are still many miles of state and interstate roadways in need of repair as well as stations that need to be upgraded. In some senses, this places New York between Texas and California.
Aspects I notice in each of these plans I notice one thing about all of these plans: States don’t seem overly eager to provide interstate routes with heavy, redundant coverage. While they are all doing everything they can to get interstate highways to comply with regulations using federal monies, they are also saving money for other roadways and perhaps urban pricing in the future.
It is also evident that the plans are greatly influenced by where the states are currently. The end aim remains the same, but they must choose how to reach the minimums in a way that works with what is actually taking place in reality. Although it seems obvious, there was a chance that a state would decide to start anew instead of using counting stations in order to have more control over the procedure. It appears that no one desired that.
The professionalism was another element that struck me as impressive. Even states that would ordinarily not give a crap about electric vehicles put in the work and created plans that were not only sound but also specific to local circumstances. I had expected to discover at least one state that didn’t take it seriously and would have called it in.
This demonstrates that EVs aren’t the political fireball they once were, which is fantastic.
Screenshot from New Mexico’s EV charging strategy is the featured image.
Do you value the unique reporting and cleantech news coverage on CleanTechnica? Consider becoming a patron on Patreon or a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador. Don’t miss a cleantech story, will ya? Register for daily news updates from CleanTechnica by email. Or follow us on Google News Want to advertise with CleanTechnica, send us a tip, or propose a speaker for our podcast CleanTech Talk? You can reach us here.