Nearly two and a half years after Governor Brad Little established February 14, 2020 as Electric Vehicle Day, Idaho is planning to install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations every 50 miles along its interstates, thanks to the Idaho Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan. The installation is possible because of $28 million in funding via the National Electric Vehicle Investment program, a part of the bipartisan federal infrastructure investment act. The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is currently reviewing public feedback on the charging stations to formulate the most efficient implementation plan.
Two offices, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and the Idaho Office of Energy and Mineral Resources, have partnered with ITD to research and roll out the new network. Idaho’s goal is to make it easier for EVs to travel across this mostly-rural state. Each station will have at least four 150-kilowatt plugs and will bill customers based on time.
The plan will consider many issues raised by public feedback, including where to build the stations, safe lighting, food and drink options, 24-hour access, and disability access. Additionally, the stations must be set up on public or private property outside the interstate right of way.
The Gem State, like others in the Intermountain West region of the U.S., also faces the challenge of long stretches of remote highways, where towns have hundreds of miles between them.
Station locations will be based significantly on the public feedback findings and existing infrastructure and capability.
“Deployment across Idaho must overcome challenges of distance, available electrical service, and private partners willing to move into a developing market,” said Aubrie Spence, ITD senior public information officer. “This nationwide effort will take many years to begin to provide sufficient service for long-distance travelers.”
Plan approval is expected by Sept. 30, and then the state will receive $4.4 million for year one and $6.3 million each year for the next four years. People can expect to see charging stations along the interstate by late 2023, with the project fully complete by 2026. Idaho’s implementation of chargers is a part of a broader national effort to establish an interconnected, cross-country EV charging network, all a part of using greener, sustainable options to help the country meet its 2050 net-zero emissions goal. The federal government has set a goal of at least 500,000 chargers across the country by 2030 to ensure reliable, affordable, and equitable access for all interstate drivers.