INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Department of Transportation is preparing to expand the state’s network of electric vehicle chargers using federal funding allocated by the bipartisan infrastructure law.
The $100 million expansion, which was approved this week by the White House, would put all Hoosiers within 40 miles of a public charging station, according to INDOT.
The focus of the plan is on interstates and major highways, though state officials say it’s just the beginning of efforts to grow the charging network.
For Kevin Whited, an Indianapolis man who has been driving an electric vehicle for nearly three years, he always charges his car at home but has had some close calls with while traveling.
“One soccer tournament, I was going to Evansville, I rolled into the hotel that had a charger and I got a low propulsion light,” Whited said. “So I was probably down to 1 or 2%.”
The bipartisan federal infrastructure law aims to prevent that from happening. It’s giving states funding to install charging stations every 50 miles along interstates and major highways within one mile of an exit.
INDOT is still working out the plan’s details, including who will build the charging stations and where, according to spokesperson Natalie Garrett.
Indiana has more than 300 public charging stations right now, Garrett said, and the new plan would add more than 40.
Local roadways need more of those chargers, too, said Kaylee May of Greater Indiana Clean Cities.
“We’re going to need more charging stations for people who are in multi-unit dwellings, places where they don’t have a garage, they’re off-street parking,” May said.
Many say they believe the plan will help get more electric vehicles on the road in Indiana, though some say INDOT needs to do more to ensure all communities will benefit.
“Is it on Black-owned property or ethnically-diverse property whereas that particular property owner could benefit from the potential revenue?” said Denise Abdul-Rahman, who oversees environmental issues for the Indiana NAACP and belongs to an advocacy group focused on the issue, the Indiana Alliance for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and Economic Opportunities.
INDOT plans to meet with the alliance for a third time next month.
“There will be ongoing opportunities to make adjustments to the plan as we advance,” Garrett said. “We will continue to listen to all voices as we implement the NEVI program and deploy EV charging infrastructure.”
Construction on the charging stations is expected to start in 2024, Garrett said.