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More electric vehicle charging stations could be coming to Oklahoma's interstates

Beth Wallis
StateImpact Oklahoma

More fast charging stations for electric vehicles could be coming to Oklahoma as the state Department of Transportation (ODOT) considers sites for federally-funded chargers.

The U.S. Departments of Transportation and Energy have designated “alternative fuel corridors” across the country. In Oklahoma, those designated corridors include I-35, I-40 and I-44, along with several state highways and U.S. routes.

The goal is to offer multiple fast chargers every 50 miles along these roads within 1 mile of an exit by 2030. The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Program has set aside $5 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help develop charging stations that meet those requirements, including $66 million for Oklahoma.

Oklahoma is already home to 29 fast charging stations that fit the bill, but the state still has some gaps to fill. Of 60 candidate sites for new fast chargers, ODOT’s Multimodal Division highlighted 13 to receive NEVI funding.

If approved by ODOT, that money will be part of a public-private partnership where the companies installing and operating the charging stations would provide matching funds. The total cost for building those charging stations and operating them for five years would be just over $16 million, with federal funds covering around $9 million.

Eight of the sites would be operated by Love’s Travel Stops, three by Tesla and two by Francis Energy.

ODOT’s governing Commission was slated to hear a presentation about the proposed charging stations at a meeting on March 4, but had to delay the issue due to procedural concerns about the meeting agenda. These projects will need ODOT commissioners’ approval before they can receive the funds.

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Graycen Wheeler is a reporter covering water issues at KOSU as a corps member with Report for America.
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