Under infrastructure plan, Indiana gets federal funding for electric vehicle charging stations

IN Focus: Indiana Politics

INDIANAPOLIS – After President Biden signs the bipartisan infrastructure bill into law, Indiana is set to receive federal funding for electric vehicle charging stations.

Electric vehicle charging stations often aren’t easy to come by in Indiana. And for some communities, they’re nowhere to be found.

“It’s something we certainly decided that we needed a couple of years ago when I took office,” said Mayor Dan Ridenour of Muncie.

Muncie is the home of Ball State University and is located along Interstate 69, but the city doesn’t have any electric vehicle charging stations right now, Ridenour said.

Muncie is working to install some of its first EV charging stations, Ridenour said, and he hopes additional federal funding can help them expand.

“I think it’s important,” Ridenour said. “Cities are pretty strapped with our source of funds to begin with.”

According to the White House, Indiana will receive $100 million to install more electric vehicle charging stations. Another $2.5 billion will be available to Indiana as grants for those who apply.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Indiana currently has about 900 public EV charging stations statewide. But experts say that’s not enough.

“There’s a need just across the board,” said Kerri Garvin, executive director of the nonpartisan organization Greater Indiana Clean Cities. “Especially in our rural and some of the underserved communities that often get overlooked.”

According to Garvin, Indiana only has two dozen DC fast chargers, with most others taking hours to charge a vehicle.

Garvin said she believes more charging stations will encourage more people to drive electric.

“They should be allowed to choose the type of vehicle they want to drive, and if that’s an electric vehicle, they should have access to charging,” she said.

Meanwhile, electric providers say they see significant opportunity to grow the state’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

“We’re really excited frankly that the infrastructure discussions on the federal level have sort of brought the need for EV infrastructure to the forefront,” said McKenzie Barbknecht, senior corporate communications consultant for Duke Energy Indiana.

The state is currently in the process of installing more than 60 DC fast charging stations following a federal settlement with Volkswagen. That project is expected to be complete by late 2023, Barbknecht said.

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