FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Electric vehicles are set to become the future of transportation.
The state of Indiana has created a plan to begin building EV charging stations all over the state starting next year. It’s plan though is only for interstate highways.
Installing EV chargers around cities is not included in the plan since the state is designating the 44 charging stations they plan to build as Alternative Fuel Corridors. These corridors are built for multiple alternative fuel sources such as hydrogen, propane and natural gas along with electricity.
Each corridor will be located every 50 miles of each other and will be located along interstate exits near cities, including Fort Wayne.
Kyle Winling, traffic engineer for the City of Fort Wayne, said the reason for the state building the corridors on highways is because it’s the first logical step since highways are the main route people take for driving long distances.
“They’re starting with big picture first by starting with the interstate,” Winling said. “Within the last week, new grant funding has opened up through the CFI program.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation has come out with the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary grant program, which will provide $2.5 billion over five years to cities, counties, and Indigenous tribes to build EV infrastructure in their communities.
The first round of funding for 2023 makes up $700 million to install EV chargers in publicly accessible locations in urban and rural communities like public parking lots, public schools and other public facilities.
Another grant program involving EV infrastructure is the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, which is a $5 billion grant program.
Winling said under the NEVI program, there have been discussions about potential locations in the Fort Wayne area.
“The program has identified Illinois Road, Lima and Dupont. They’re all within a one mile radius of the Interstate,” he said.
He added that the new CFI grant program opens up opportunities for communities outside of the designated corridors to get EV chargers and other alternative fuel corridors in their own neighborhoods.
Local municipalities are able to begin applying for the grants. Applications are due by May 30.
He said there is a preference towards installing EV chargers near multi-family housing complexes.
“They would make good candidates for the concept of looking for people who aren’t going to have the best infrastructure so let’s help them out,” he said.
The city of Fort Wayne previously received another grant in 2021 through the Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Mitigation Trust, a state program that provides funds to pay some or all of the cost to repower or replace eligible diesel-powered vehicles with new diesel, alternative fuel, or all-electric engines or vehicles.
Those funds are being used to install 27 EV chargers across the city. They did this by creating partnerships with businesses like Meijer, who have already installed chargers for Tesla vehicles.
“We plan to install level 2 chargers, which can charge any electric vehicle, at places like Jefferson Pointe and the Memorial Coliseum,” he said. “We like to partner with other people to help us.”
The state’s next plans for building EV chargers will be taking proposals from potential owner/operators.
Natalie Garrett, strategic communications director for the Indiana Department of Transportation, said that process will begin later this year.
“We’re also looking at initial installation in 2024 of the first stations across the state,” Garrett said.
She said the ultimate goal of these projects are to encourage wider adoption of EVs through expanding charging networks not just in Indiana, but across the United States.