Kentucky gains fed approval for $70 million EV charging network

Published 12:00 pm Friday, September 16, 2022

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Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday that Kentucky has received federal approval to develop a nearly $70 million electric vehicle charging network as one of 35 states whose plans have been approved by the Federal Highway Administration.

He noted the state has already attracted more than $9 billion of investments from electric vehicle battery makers and automotive suppliers,

“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.  “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.”

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 $17 million in state matching funds approved by the General Assembly this year, a total of $86.9 million will be available for EV charging infrastructure over the next five years.

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“Our goal is to have a statewide network of EV chargers by 2025,” said Transportation Cabinet 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.”

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

In July, the Federal Highway Administration approved Kentucky’s plan for Alternative Fuel Corridors, or AFCs.  As part of that plan, all of Kentucky’s 11 interstates and eight parkways are now designated as EV AFCs.

“I’m pleased our state’s plan has been approved and want to thank everyone who played a part in developing and reviewing it,” said Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, co-chair of the General Assembly’s Interim Joint Transportation Committee. “We were pleased with the plan presented to us. The next step is to ensure we maximize these precious taxpayer dollars and follow through on expectations.”

Last month, the Transportation Cabinet issued a request for information from the private sector related to the deployment of DCFC stations on the EV AFC corridors. That 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.