Another perspective: INDOT plans for recharging boosts EVs

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(Columbus) The Republic

THE increasing number of electric vehicles on Indiana roadways means a surge in the need to power them all over the state. This transition will continue to accelerate. For instance, The Republic’s Mark Webber recently reported that the town of Hope just wired up its first EV charging station.

Meantime, The Indiana Department of Transportation is making major plans to meet the needs of charging electric vehicles now and in the future. Interested residents will have the opportunity to have a voice in that process.

INDOT is planning three meetings around the state for its Electric Vehicle Deployment Plan. The final of these meetings will be June 14 at INDOT’s Seymour District Office, but space is limited to the first 50 people who sign up.

The sessions are meant to provide details on Indiana’s alternative fuel corridors and assess the current EV charging infrastructure as well as look at what will be needed in the future. Those attending will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.

We applaud INDOT for taking this show on the road and letting the public know what’s available now and what the plans are for the future. Those unable to attend an in-person meeting will still be able to get information online at https://www.in.gov/indot/current-programs/innovative-programs/electric-vehicle-charging-infrastructure-network/

INDOT is looking to expand Level 3 fast-charging stations. These offer a variety of connections that are designed to provide vehicles with a charge good for 100 to 200 miles in about 30 minutes. Federal funding from the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law permits INDOT to invest more than $100 million in strategically located charging stations. These will be part of an ambitious plan to create a network of at least 500,000 chargers nationwide.

The numbers and the forecast show this and more will be needed. While electric vehicles currently are less than 2% of all American vehicles on the road, auto executives believe that by 2030, half or more of auto sales will be EVs, accounting and consulting firm KPMG reported in a recent survey.

Indiana is well positioned to accommodate this through early planning on a network of charging facilities that can adapt to changes in technology. As the Crossroads of America, we have to be more than ready. We have to be ready to lead. And we have to understand what we do now must adapt to changes in the coming decades.

It’s likely that technological changes will come quickly as the market for EVs expands. Recently, for example, Purdue University engineers announced they have a patent pending for a fast-charging cable that could allow a full recharge for an electric vehicle in about five minutes. That approximates the amount of time it takes to fill a tank with gas.

Survey after survey of consumers has found the chief resistance to owning an EV is concern about vehicle range. INDOT’s plan, and emerging technologies, is likely to dash some of those concerns. And while consumers may be on the fence, plenty of fleets are transitioning or thinking about incorporating electric vehicles.

We look forward to seeing INDOT’s designs on future charging stations. They must be as accessible and adaptable as possible.