Kentucky receives federal approval for electric vehicle charging network

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Kentucky received federal approval to build an electric vehicle charging network, according to Gov. Andy Beshear.

“Kentucky was already a leader in automotive production and the EV battery production capital of the United States, which is helping us create thousands of high-quality jobs for Kentuckians,” Beshear said on Thursday. “Today, we are further cementing the state’s status as a leader in the EV revolution by beginning to build the charging station infrastructure that will enable EV travel in every corner of our commonwealth.”

In June, the legislature heard testimony on how state officials are working to institute Kentucky’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan.

The Kentucky plan is being developed as part of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure, or NEVI, Formula Funding Program. Funding comes from the 2021 Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act, and Kentucky is getting $10.3 million this year, with a total of $69.5 million through 2026. There will also be $17.4 million in non-federal funds.

Kentucky’s projected electric vehicle infrastructure. Photo provided | NEVI

“The goal of the NEVI funding is to develop a reliable, affordable, and equitable national EV charging network,” said John Moore, assistant state highway engineer for project development and cabinet lead at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. “The initial focus is to deploy fast chargers along the interstates to support long-distance travel.”

Kentucky’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan outlines Kentucky’s high-priority EV corridors and was developed by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) in cooperation with the Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC), Public Service Commission and Federal Highway Administration, along with input from hundreds of other agencies, organizations and interested parties.

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The plan was submitted to the U.S. Joint Office of Energy and Transportation in late July and has now been approved, securing federal National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) formula program funds. Federal funding for the first two years of the program will be provided to KYTC over the next few months. With matching funds, a total of $86.9 million will be available for EV charging infrastructure over the next five years.

Initial NEVI funding must be spent to build out direct current fast-charging (DCFS) stations that can fully charge a battery in 30 minutes or less at interchanges along interstates and parkways. Kentucky already has identified other priority highways on which charger access will be expanded in future phases to fill connectivity gaps.

“Our goal is to have a statewide network of EV chargers by 2025,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray. “Approval of our EV plan by the federal government now ensures Kentucky will receive $25 million in federal funds this year to begin to design and build that network, starting with our interstates and parkways.”

In July, the Federal Highway Administration approved Kentucky’s plan for Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs). As part of that plan, all of Kentucky’s 11 interstates and eight parkways are now designated as EV AFCs (blue routes on EV corridor map). Federal guidance requires NEVI formula program funds to first be spent on building out Kentucky’s long-distance EV AFC charging network. Fast-charging stations must be located no more than 50 miles apart along the AFC, not more than one mile off the AFC, must each have four ports at 150-kilowatt per port per station (600-kilowatt total), and must not be proprietary (stations limited to specific vehicles).

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Several factors were considered when identifying corridors, including distance to existing charging stations, equity and access in rural communities. Specific charging locations will be determined later.

On Aug. 24, KYTC issued a Request for Information (RFI) from the private sector related to the deployment of DCFC stations on the EV AFC corridors. The RFI is a precursor to developing a request for proposals for the deployment of DCFC stations on the EV AFCs. Local communities and other agencies can apply for competitive grants to fund electric vehicle charging stations later in 2022 or early 2023 after the U.S. Department of Transportation has issued further guidance and a notice of funding opportunity.

Responses to the RFI must be submitted via email to [email protected] no later than 5 p.m. EDT on Sept. 30, 2022. For additional information, visit governor.ky.gov/betterky.

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