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Indiana EV Charging Plan Gets Green Light, $100M from USDOT

The federal funding will be distributed over five fiscal years for the construction and operation of direct-current fast charging stations along federally designated Alternative Fuel Corridors.

(TNS) — Indiana's plan to use nearly $100 million in federal funds for an electric vehicle charging network has been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, releasing more than $36 million as the state continues planning to build its share of the government's goal of 500,000 charging stations across the country by 2030.

The DOT has now approved National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program plans for all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The plans are a requirement to receive grants funded by the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.

"A robust network of convenient, reliable charging infrastructure is essential to addressing range anxiety for electric vehicle owners," INDOT Commissioner Mike Smith said in the agency's announcement of the approval. "Through the NEVI program, Indiana will work with private and public partners to make strategic investments in charging infrastructure along our highways to support the growing number of EVs traveling throughout our state."

The federal funding will be distributed over five fiscal years for the construction and operation of direct-current fast charging stations along federally designated Alternative Fuel Corridors, which in Indiana include all interstate highways plus U.S. 31, a total of 1,436 miles.

The federal requirement is to have a charging station within 50 miles of any point on the corridors. Indiana currently has 354 charging stations, according to the INDOT plan, but only 23 are of the DC Fast Charging type and just four are NEVI compliant — meaning they're located within one mile of an AFC.

Among other requirements, each station must have at least four ports that can simultaneously charge at 150 kilowatts and be accessible to the public 24 hours a day.

NEVI will fund 80% of the installation of EV charging stations along with up to five years of operations and maintenance, with the remaining 20 percent of costs to be funded by site owner-operators. INDOT hopes to engage in public-private partnerships to achieve as much of the financing as possible, and is also using money from the Volkswagen emissions settlement to fund its electric vehicle infrastructure work.

The INDOT plan includes three phases. The first, essentially for planning, will run from October of this year through September 2023; the second, to create charging stations in high-demand areas, from June 30, 2024, to June 30, 2025; and the third, starting Sept. 30, 2024, to build out the network.

Indiana's plan will invest in at least 44 Level 3 DC-Fast Charge EV charging stations to fully build out the state's AFCs. Once built out, every Hoosier will be within 40 miles of a NEVI-funded charging station. The plan also prioritizes providing access to and benefit from EV charging stations for disadvantaged communities in both urban and rural areas.

INDOT also discussed grid management issue with electric utilities, and suggests EVs, likely requiring investments from the utilities and plans for load balancing, off-peak charging incentives, metering, battery storage and other new practices.

A Purdue University/INDOT study concluded that while a charging network would clearly impact the grid, "with the current (electric vehicle) adoption rates, there is no need for major grid updates." But the state and electric utilities need to plan for the electrification of commercial fleets, which will require "development and upgrades of the transmission and distribution network."

Indiana's total NEVI funding of just over $99.6 million will be divided over five fiscal years, beginning with fiscal year 2022, which ends this week. The $36 million the U.S. DOT said is available now constitutes the fiscal year 2022 and 2023 grants.

Nationally, over $5 billion has been allocated for the NEVI program.

©2022 The Times, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.