New EV charging stations two to three years away, MDOT says


No state has fewer public electric vehicle charging stations per capita than Mississippi.

With 145 total stations, the state has just under five for every 100,000 people, much lower than the national rate of 19 per 100,000, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy.

But with a boost of $50 million in federal funding, Mississippi plans to add about 30 new stations, which will be spread out along the state’s busiest highways. Jessica Dilley, the director of Alternative Program Deliveries with the Mississippi Department of Transportation,told Mississippi Today that the agency projects that new charging stations will start showing up by 2026 or 2027.

The $50 million, which came from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, is coming to the state over a five-year period. As of now, MDOT is still in its planning phase and hasn’t spent any of the money.

Dilley said there was an adjustment period for the agency, versus its counterparts in other states that already had electric vehicle programs.

“There are some states nationwide that already had programs before the national program was established,” she said. “We are not one of those states. So we spent time coordinating with the industry and educating ourselves… as well as coordinating with the utilities, the energy department, and communities throughout our state.”

As far as where the new stations will go, MDOT is planning to build between 25 to 30 new locations along I-10, I-20, I-22, I-55, I-59, I-69 and I-269. In order to meet federal requirements, stations have to be spaced no more than 50 miles apart from each other, and no more than a mile from the nearest interstate. The average cost of each new station, MDOT estimates, is between $500,000 and $1.5 million.

MDOT is issuing two rounds of request for proposals, Dilley said. The first round will be issued by the end of this year, with awards going out by mid-2025. Based on what’s happened in other states, she said, it’ll take anywhere from six months to a year after contracts are awarded until the stations are up and running.

There are a wide range of companies that may put in bids to run the new stations, Dilley added.

“What we’ve seen from adjacent states is everywhere from Waffle Houses putting in (bids) to Tesla, and everything in between,” she said. “So it’ll be up to whoever submits to apply for the funding to put in the station.”

Companies that win bids will be responsible for 20% of the station costs, and MDOT will use its federal dollars to pay for the rest. Each station will have to have four DC fast chargers, each supplying 150 kilowatts at a time.

Mississippi’s current charging stations, as shown in the map above, are spread out around the state, but most of them lack the capacity that the new stations will carry.

During the agency’s public engagement, Dilley said MDOT received over 2,700 comments in the first year of the program. She said a “good amount” of the responses expressed “resistance” towards the program, because they were against electric vehicles in general or because the program is being funded publicly rather than privately. Other commenters were supportive, Dilley said, showing interest in reducing fuel emissions.

As part of the federal requirements for receiving the funds, Mississippi has to submit annual plans for building electric vehicle infrastructure, which the public can view on MDOT’s website. Dilley said the agency will continue to engage with the public and post updates online.

— Article credit to Alex Rozier of Mississippi Today


Source link