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Arizona Prepares to Install EV Charging Stations Along Interstate

A new plan to install EV charging stations along I-10, which runs through the state, is underway in Arizona.

an electric car plugged into a charger
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
(TNS) — A new plan to develop charging stations along Interstate 10 could help motorists with alternative-fuel vehicles fill up along Interstate 10 between California and New Mexico.

The Pima Association of Governments, in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Transportation and Valley of the Sun Clean Cities Coalition, published a 60-page plan to locate "Corridor Ready" fueling sites.

An $80,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration helped develop the plan to find the best sites along I-10 to charge up electric vehicles and those using compressed natural gas.

The underlying goal is to reduce transportation-related emissions in the region, said Dustin Fitzpatrick, PAG's air quality planning coordinator, in a statement.

"The use of alternative fuels in passenger and commercial vehicles supports cleaner air in our region since they emit fewer pollutants," Fitzpatrick said.

The "Corridor Ready" requirements are that electric vehicle charging stations are no more than 50 miles apart and compressed-natural gas fueling facilities are no more than 150 miles apart. The fueling sites must also be within 5 miles of the highway.

Four electric charging stations and one compressed natural gas station would fill the gaps between Phoenix and the Arizona-California border and between Tucson and the Arizona-New Mexico border.

The collaborators determined that several stations are required in Salome and Tonopah to close the gap between Blythe, Calif., and Buckeye and in Willcox and San Simon to close the gap between Benson and Lordsburg, N.M., the report said.

The electric vehicle charging sites would host two, four or eight available spaces for motorists to use. The estimated cost to build the infrastructure would be $162,500 to $782,00 depending on the number of charging spaces. The prices also vary by location.

The group identified sites such as Willcox Truck Plaza and several Pilot gas stations as potential landing spots for the stations.

The sites would include 24-hour public access all year, Americans with Disabilities Act accessible facilities, and would be within walking distance of local restaurants, retail shopping or tourist attractions.

The group also identified gaps with compressed natural gas filling sites between Tucson and the Arizona-New Mexico border along I-10. They determined that "one CNG fueling facility is required in either Willcox or San Simon to close the gap between Tucson and Deming, N.M.," the report said.

Two truck stops were selected in Willcox and San Simon as potential natural gas fueling sites, at a cost of $700,000 to $2 million per site, the report said.

Funding the stations is one of the biggest hurdles to clear.

There's also the problem of interconnectivity within the corridor, especially in rural areas that have existing facilities nearly at the 50-mile threshold between Salome and Tonopah.

Dates for bringing the charging stations have not been set.

DOWN THE ROAD

Access to the westbound I-10 frontage road near Ruthrauff Road will be moved to a new temporary ramp beginning Wednesday, Dec. 23.

Motorists will still have access to frontage road businesses and Sunset Road.

In preparation for the shift, the following restriction will be in place this week:

  • Eastbound I-10 near Ruthrauff will be reduced to a single lane from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Sunday and Monday.
  • Westbound I-10 near Ruthrauff will be reduced to a single lane from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Tuesday.
(c)2020 The Arizona Daily Star, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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