Indiana ponders implementation of electric vehicle charger networks

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State officials and private partners laid out first steps Wednesday evening for creating a statewide network of reliable electric vehicle chargers using federal funding.

It is part of a nationwide push to add at least 50,000 chargers for electric vehicles. Indiana will receive almost $100 million in federal funding with an explicit push to prioritize disadvantaged communities and rural areas.

State officials expect the monies over a period of five years through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure, or NEVI, program created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed in 2021.

“Funding is directed toward the alternative fuel corridors and within those corridors (electric vehicle) charging stations must be located every 50 miles and stations must be within one mile of the interstate,” said Scott Manning, the deputy chief of staff for the Indiana Department of Transportation, in a Wednesday presentation. “Each station itself must have a minimum of four plugs or ports, each providing 150 kilowatts of power through a (direct current) source.”

Alternative fuel corridors, or designated roadways in the national network of electric vehicle chargers, in Indiana include all of the major interstates, U.S. 31 and several beltways. Indiana’s distribution of interstates means much of Indiana, except the most rural portions, will be within 50 miles of the preliminary round of chargers. 

Also in Indiana’s favor: the relatively mild climate and limited elevation changes, though research finds that the majority of electric vehicle owners reside in Hamilton and Marion counties.

“While EV adoption is currently relatively low, it is projected to steadily increase over the next 15 years,” said Diane Newton, the senior project engineer of infrastructure design firm HNTB

Because of the slow growth, the state’s electric grid capacity seeing an immediate impact isn’t likely, Newton said. But she said stakeholders recognize that electric utilities could play a key collaborative role in expanding charging infrastructure.

A survey of 2,200 Hoosiers, 78% of whom identified as members of the general public, cited the availability of chargers, the purchase price of electric vehicles and the range as obstacles for EV ownership.

“A quick glimpse of survey results tells us the availability of charging stations is the biggest barrier to EV adoption in their community,” Kerri Garvin, the executive director of Greater Indiana Clean Cities, Inc., said. “Respondents overwhelmingly stated that building more public accessible charging stations is needed to address the barrier.”

The plan moving forward

The state must submit its implementation plan to the federal government by August 1, anticipating review and approval by September 30. Public comment on the unreleased draft plan will open on July 20 at

Manning said after approval, the state will continue to develop the contract plan and find potential site owners. He predicted the earliest Hoosiers could see the construction of new charging stations would be in late 2024 or early 2025.

“(The funding) doesn’t expire, so to speak, so we’ll continue to add additional phases and build out the plan as long as the federal funding allows us to do so,” Manning said. 

Newton showed a map of the 241 EV charging locations throughout Indiana, just four of which are NEVI compliant. The four chargers appeared to be in Indianapolis, Terre Haute, Jeffersonville and West Lafayette.

“There’s still a lot of the state that does not have charging infrastructure located within a reasonable distance,” Newton said. 

While the state has 30 Tesla superchargers, their closed proprietary system means they aren’t compatible with other car models. NEVI compliant chargers will need to be available for a variety of vehicles, including possibilities for long-haul trucking or public transportation.

“The sheer volume of freight movement in the state means that this will be an emerging priority in the coming years,” Newton said. 

With competitive grants available for both public transportation and freight, Indiana joined a coalition of states in the Midwest, known as the Regional Electric Midwest Coalition, to gain a competitive edge.

Goals for Indiana’s EV charging network

The state articulated four draft priorities to submit as part of their application: closing 50-mile gaps along the alternative fuel corridors, providing service in high-demand areas, providing service in disadvantaged/ rural communities and leveraging existing access to utility service. 

“One hundred percent of the preliminary sites identified are within at least 15 miles of a disadvantaged community and 62% are within five miles,” Manning said. 

Disadvantaged communities, where 59% of Hoosiers live, include both urban and rural areas. Being close to these chargers allows for potential benefits such as job creation and training opportunities. 

To fully implement the plan, interested parties must work with the state to be identified as an EV charger station. Station owners and operators are required to match 20% of funding and some stations funded by the $2 billion Volkswagen emissions settlement could be upgraded to become NEVI compliant. 

“We will potentially be partnering with some vendors that haven’t worked with INDOT before or maybe have worked with INDOT just in a limited capacity,” Manning said. “In anticipation of that we anticipate doing a significant amount of outreach and education on the business requirements.”

The first phase will include approximately 40 more stations along Indiana’s busiest interstates, with priority sites already identified by the state.

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13 thoughts on “Indiana ponders implementation of electric vehicle charger networks

  1. It goes to show how out of touch the Federal government is with America. Our inner city road infrastructure are a mess, and they want us to spend that borrowed money on electric car stations when only wealthy people can buy those cars today.

    1. The major automakers are in a scaling war to see who can get the lowest cost EV right now. This is an investment to accelerate that scaling effort, which brings down costs.

  2. Admittedly I am one that will hold on to my gasoline fueled cars for as long as possible BUT what is the logic behind prioritizing disadvantaged communities? Are citizens in these areas focusing on buying these EV vehicles with their premium prices? This just sounds like another government mandated boondoggle. Prioritization should be 90% along the interstates and Route 31 and the rest dispersed to more rural areas. My $ .02 cents

  3. What the article or the Feds and INDOT haven’t stated, what will the charging costs be for the Ev user? How long will the charging take per user? Will we have lines 10 cars deep waiting 30-90 minutes per car? Has anything been thought thru in detail?

    1. Given that the vast, vast majority of charging is done at home and long-distance travel by car is relatively rare, the scenario you mentioned above is extraordinarily unlikely to occur. There are already fast chargers with pricing schemes publicly available, so those are solid comparisons. Time to charge also varies depending on the vehicle, but more and more manufacturers are designing vehicles to accept higher KW and voltage ratings to reduce fast charging times. For example, KIA’s EV6 can charge from 10 to 80% in 18 minutes.

    2. Picture just 10% of the cars on I-65 heading towards Chicago are EV’s. They all need charging at some point. They pull off to a rest stop or a truck stop and have to wait for an available charger behind a dozen other vehicles. Yep, this is going to work.

    3. Tony: Which is why you continue to scale up with demand. GM just announced yesterday that they’re going to supplement the NEVI network with an additional 2,000 charge points at 500 Pilot and Flying J locations. Energy density of batteries is increasing at a rapid clip, decreasing the number of times someone would need to recharge on a road trip. I’m not sure why everyone is acting like capacity and number of chargers is fixed and cannot be changed. This quite obviously isn’t the case and it’s scaling up quickly.

    4. AT, it’s the government (us taxpayers) paying for this is my concern. Based on your statement above it sounds like the private sector is kicking in with charge stations, like it should be.

  4. Sounds like a huge boondoggle to me. This is risky and the only thing pushing it forward is the federal goverments’ subsidy or bribery to create momemtum. The free market is nowhere close now to the technology and infrastructure needed for a successful future in this endeavor. We tout capitalism when it is convenient, and when it is more convenient our corrupt politicians lead us down the thorny path to our own destruction.

  5. Does anyone on here realize how long it takes to “re-charge” one of these cars? And where there are already charging stations, the lines are often an hour wait. Sure, you say ” but wait till there are more stations” but I say wait till there are more cars.
    Electric cars are like “sustainable energy” such as wind and solar. They are not ready and neither are we.

    1. Where are the lines an hour wait? I have an EV and have driven it long-distance several times. Never once has this been an issue.

    2. But also, long waits would indicate high demand, which goes against your own statement of us “not being ready.” EVs hit 5% of sales last quarter and are expected to hit 25% by 2025, that’s why every automaker is switching over. This is happening and it would be a bigger mistake for us to not address it.

  6. Back in 2015, the American Automobile Association (AAA) reported that, on average, Americans drove 29.2 miles per day, making two trips with an average total duration of 46 minutes. There is little reason to think those numbers are much different today. As a result, overnight home charging of EVs will adequately power those cars for a vast majority of the miles driven. Technology is also improving the speed of full charging, so that task shouldn’t take much longer than filling up the tank with gas. Hotels and restaurants could lure business with chargers, with workplace garages and rest stops also logical ad convenient locations for chargers.