This tool reveals future fast-charging routes for electric vehicles on the road

This Thanksgiving weekend, as families hit the highways to visit friends and family, electric vehicles are more likely than ever to be part of the dinner conversation.

The product is a big part of it. With the introduction of electric trucks like the F-150 Lightning and even off-road SUVs like the Rivian R1S, and affordable options like the Chevrolet Bolt EV, vehicle choice is less likely to stand in the way of adoption. EVs.

But the shortage of chargers on the annual vacation trip may be what delays big vehicle decisions and keeps the gas-powered family vehicle going for another year. While you may still be too close to EV range, will the growing charging infrastructure allow it next year?

While existing options, including Tesla’s Supercharger Network and Electrify America, may hint at chargers slated to open in a few months, they don’t allow us to see into the future if vacation itineraries will be different in the future. next year. Both networks tend to cover major highways and cross-country roads and leave large parts of the country disconnected when it comes to fast-charging car journeys.

Tesla electric cars at the Supercharger fast charging site, TK [photo: Jay Lucas]

For a more decisive answer as to whether these highway pricing gaps could close next year — or in a few years — we have a good source: the federal government.

A good start for a federal charging network

The bipartisan Infrastructure Act signed into law in November 2021 approved $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging. This was split into two parts: $5 billion for the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program and $2.5 billion for a discretionary grant program to address rural charging and underserved communities and/or or disadvantaged.

The $5 billion NEVI program has two main components: the deployment of state-approved and proposed electric vehicle charging infrastructure, as well as the formation of an “interconnected network to facilitate the collection, access and the reliability of the data”. For the first, it is spread over five years, and it arrives in a first tranche of $615 million for fiscal year 2022 and around $885 million for fiscal year 2023.

The program required individual state plans to be submitted to the federal government, laying out plans for the planned federal EV charging network to place at least four 150 kW DC fast-charging connectors, every 50 miles.

While the NEVI plans submitted by states varied widely, essentially all states did their homework on time and submitted their plans by August 1. In mid-September, plans for an initial batch of 35 states were approved for funding and installation of the charger, and all states were given the go-ahead by the end of the month.

All on plan and on map

The program required that prior to any plan approval, charging routes be designated as alternative fuel corridors, so in the weeks and months leading up to the proposals, states followed a separate process with the federal government to refine this.

You can browse each of the state plans for electric vehicle charging through the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation. But if you don’t have time to scroll through the reports, there’s a resource you can check out at a glance to check out that vacation route (or summer vacation route): Go to the resort finder Department of Energy Alternate Fueling Route, make sure you have checked only “Designated Alternate Fuel Corridors” and then zoom in on your designated route.

Alternative Fuel Corridors for Electric Vehicles - DOE Alternative Fuels Data Center, November 2022

Alternative Fuel Corridors for Electric Vehicles – DOE Alternative Fuels Data Center, November 2022

Routes drawn in dark green are designated as Alternative Fuel Corridors, and are most likely either already built with Chargers or soon to be. Light green routes are more useful. They indicate waiting corridors, and they will almost certainly be built with chargers as part of the federal grid by the middle of the decade.

You’ll need to check the respective state plan to see the details of when this will happen, but if you don’t see your route there, any charger coverage will depend on whether those other charging networks see a business model.

Even after construction, there will be significant gaps. But if you currently have to drive in a fast-charging desert, even once or twice a year, this may be a look into the future and if you too can make the leap more comfortably to an EV.

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