Dec 14, 2023 - News

Ohio debuts country's first Biden-funded EV chargers

Illustration of a road with glowing electricity symbols dividing the lanes.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Two years after President Biden signed legislation to fund a nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations, Ohio is leading the charge.

Driving the news: The first station in the country made possible by the $5 billion program opened last week on Interstate 70, just west of Columbus, Axios' Joann Muller reports.

Why it matters: Having convenient, reliable fast chargers along major highways is an important confidence-booster for people considering an EV.

  • EV uptake in Ohio is lagging compared to other parts of the U.S., but an influx of new chargers could help it surge.

Catch up quick: The 2021 infrastructure law established the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program (NEVI), administered by the Federal Highway Administration.

  • The intent was to give money to all 50 states to deploy taxpayer-funded fast chargers near federal highways designated as "alternative fuel corridors."
  • Once the highway charging network is complete, states can use remaining funds to deploy chargers elsewhere.

The big picture: So far, 26 states have made an effort to spend their share of the money.

  • But the effort is moving at typically slow government speed, while the privately funded buildout of charging stations continues separately.
  • Ohio and Hawaii are the furthest along, with firm contracts in place.

Reality check: Ohio has a lot of room to grow — if you recall, Muller documented how a lack of stations here almost wrecked her March road trip from Florida to Michigan.

Zoom in: Only the one NEVI-funded station in Ohio is up and running so far, located at the Pilot Travel Center in Madison County.

  • It includes four EVgo fast chargers under an overhead canopy, plus restrooms, Wi-Fi, food, beverages and other conveniences.

What's next: The highway charging station is the first of more than two dozen expected to open in Ohio by the end of 2024.

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