Friday, July 19, 2024

Wisconsin EV rapid charging infrastructure, first locations planned

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Fifty-three electric vehicle charging stations will be built along Wisconsin’s “Alternative Fuel Corridor,” officials announced on Thursday, May 23. 

Gov. Tony Evers and the state Department of Transportation announced the locations that will host the first federally funded fast charging EV stations in the state. WisDOT anticipates construction may begin at some locations as early as late summer. 

Officials said the charging stations along major driving corridors allow passenger EVs to recharge in less than an hour. The Alternative Fuel Corridor will reach all corners of the state and support the state’s more than 23,000 registered EVs – as well as travelers and visitors from outside the state.

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Current electric vehicle drivers have said finding high-speed electric chargers in Wisconsin can be nearly impossible. While there are hundreds of electric chargers across the state, when it comes to Level 3 chargers that are able to juice up any model EV quickly, there were only four locations in the state as of December 2023.

WisDOT said the selected applicants included fuel retailers, hotels and restaurants. Two Tribal Nations will receive more than $800,000 in funding, and 13 selected sites will be installed in disadvantaged communities. Officials said Wisconsin is the first state to award NEVI funds to a Tribal Nation. 

The total cost for the 53 projects is estimated at $33.8 million, officials said – including $23.3 million in federal funds secured through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program (NEVI), and $10.5 million in private financing. The program required applicants to provide at least a 20% match to federal funds.

Wisconsin will receive a total of $78.65 million over five years under the NEVI Program. WisDOT is evaluating opportunities to invest the remaining $55 million in EV infrastructure projects across the state.

In March, Evers signed two bills to bolster the state’s EV infrastructure. The legislation enabled WisDOT to receive and administer more than $78 million in federal funds; of that, the department has awarded $23.3 to support the 53 projects.

One of the bills, known as Act 121, changed existing law to allow businesses to offer EV chargers that sell electricity by the kilowatt-hour, which can incentivize more businesses to start offering EV charging and also requires the state to receive funding through the federal NEVI program under the bipartisan infrastructure law.

The other bill, Act 122, created a new EV infrastructure program at WisDOT, enabling the department to receive and administer the more than $78 million in NEVI funds. Evers said WisDOT would primarily use the funds to support businesses that want to offer EV charging near Wisconsin’s major highways.

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