The Iowa Department of Transportation is taking public input on the plan to develop a network of electric vehicle charging stations across the state.
The DOT’s Stuart Anderson says the state will get around 50 million federal dollars over five years for what’s called the program called the National Electric Vehicle infrastructure program. “Part of the requirements to use that funding is that each state develop an infrastructure deployment plan. And that plan was intended to look at where the corridors are in the state that are a priority for installing electric vehicle charging infrastructure,” Anderson says.
The state can only use the funds in areas that are designated as alternative fuel corridors. “That would include our major interstates, so it’s all of Interstate 80, all of Interstate 35, Interstate 29, and also Interstate 380, those are designated quarters right now,” Anderson says. “And so the law requires that a charging infrastructure be built out on those corridors to minimum levels of service, which generally means charging infrastructure, at least every 50 miles.” He says once that system is fully built out, then the funds can be used to expand charging infrastructure elsewhere across the state.
Anderson says the charging stations will require a relatively significant amount of electricity. “That means there needs to be lots of coordination with utilities across the state. So, we’ve already begun having meetings with some of the utilities, and that will continue over the next several weeks and month or two, to get their input as well in that end of this process,” he says.
Some businesses have already installed electric vehicle charging stations, and Anderson says the chargers can be anywhere that meets the guidelines. “Funding can only be used on charging infrastructure that’s within one mile of those interstate corridors. So that’ll be a constraint to locations,” according to Anderson. “In addition, it needs to be what we call DC fast charging or level three.”
Level three is the fastest method of charging, and level one is the slowest.
Anderson encourages anyone with comments on the proposal to let them know. He says the comments will have the most impact if they are given before June 24th. “We’ve established a website for this program,” he says. “And there’s a link to that survey on that website. In addition, people can sign up for a distribution list to get more information in the future. The website is www.iowadot.gov/iowaevplan.” Anderson says they will continue to accept comments after June 24th, but will start working on the proposal.
The plan is due August 1st, and then it has to be reviewed and approved at the federal level. Anderson says they expect federal approval will be done by September 30th — and then they can start the process to identify the locations and a process for procuring them. He says every state has money from the federal government for this type of plan — and that means there is demand for the equipment — so it could take one year or more to get everything installed.