Electric vehicle charging stations are coming to southern Ohio
Southern Ohio will soon have more electric vehicle charging stations.
The Sustainable Ohio Public Energy Council recently received a $12.5 million federal grant to install them. It’s part of a broader effort to fill in EV infrastructure gaps across the country.
Ohio is an early adopter of EV technology, said Dana Vingris, SOPEC’s director of grants and development.
“But there's a lot of parts of the state that are really lacking with charging infrastructure accessibility, which is really directing the way that people travel if they have an EV.”
According to her, that includes much of southern Ohio.
So her organization has proposed building 50 charging stations across the southern half of the state.
“We looked at the communities that we serve, and where those gaps existed and where we could really fill in infrastructure gaps for people to be able to travel between Dayton and Athens,” she said.
Last year, there were about 53,000 registered electric vehicles in Ohio, according to the governor’s office. That’s a small fraction of the vehicles driven in the state.
But Vingris said investments like this could increase their number.
“Right now, the lack of EV charging accessibility between southeast and southwest Ohio, is really a barrier for people making the choice to get an EV,” she said. “If you can't confidently leave your home and feel like you can find charging, that's a significant barrier. So we're hoping that the presence and availability of these chargers will help mitigate some of that anxiety.”
If more people make the switch to EVs, Vingris believes the entire state could benefit.
"The lack of EV charging accessibility between southeast and southwest Ohio, is really a barrier for people making the choice to get an EV."Dana Vingris, SOPEC
“Transportation is a huge greenhouse gas emissions producer,” she said. “So the fewer fossil fuel powered vehicles that are on the road, that's going to be improving the air quality.”
But investing in EV charging infrastructure has additional benefits for southeast Ohio, she said. For example, building them will often require broadband improvements.
“It also includes a lot of utility upgrades to support the increased electrification that's needed to charge vehicles,” Vingris said, “which makes for more resilient communities and less power outages. So there are tangential benefits beyond the charging itself.”
The money awarded to SOPEC for this project is part of a bigger pool of money allocated to Ohio by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program, which is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency was awarded $15 million to build charging stations around that region.
Additionally, last year Ohio announced plans to develop 27 EV charging stations along interstates, as part of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program. Ohio was the first state in the country to activate one of those chargers in December.