Last Thursday, the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) submitted its preliminary plan of proposed locations of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to the federal government.
All 50 states will work under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) funding and deployment plan. West Virginia will receive $47.5 million over five years to complete two phases to build out charging stations and help set up related businesses and jobs.
Phase 1 establishes federally required charging stations on what are being dubbed the nation’s Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs). Those include West Virginia Interstates 64,77,79, 70, 68 and 81. The plan is to build EV charging stations every 50 miles along the AFCs. Construction is expected to begin in spring of 2023 and be completed in two years. Phase one is designed to assist electric vehicle owners in interstate and regional travel.
As of June of 2022, West Virginia had 14 stations and 28 individual EV ports publicly accessible; these numbers exclude Tesla EV ports because the Tesla network is currently available only to Tesla owners. Overall, the average number of EV ports per station in the state is two. The minimum number of NEVI-program required ports per station along the AFCs is four.
To meet the station spacing requirements of NEVI, stations must have at least four 150KW chargers. Additionally, the stations need to be within one mile of an electric AFC and stations must be spaced no more than 50 miles. Based on these requirements, it is estimated that West Virginia will need at least 12 NEVI-compliant stations.
West Virginia’s Phase 2 comes after the requirements of NEVI’s Phase 1 are met. Phase 2 will focus on community-based charging, and expanding local access to electric vehicle charging. For the entire five-year program, disadvantaged communities and rural areas of the state will be prioritized for EV charging infrastructure. The Justice40 Initiative was created to deliver 40 percent of overall benefits of federal investments in climate and clean energy, including sustainable transportation, to disadvantaged communities. Justice40 has a myriad of programs that support this initiative, one of which is the NEVI program. As prioritized both in NEVI guidelines and Justice40, the plan prioritizes charging infrastructure that serves lower-income and disadvantaged communities.
WVDOT has said it will commit at least 40 percent of NEVI program investments to disadvantaged communities. Education is a key component of EV deployment and state transportation leaders say West Virginia’s plan ensures equitable and community based decision-making processes to ensure that chargers are installed to meet the needs of communities that have historically been under-funded and under-invested.
A portion of the West Virginia NEVI program will focus on jobs, skills training, as well as business development investments to develop and train local workers in Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) construction and maintenance.
In 2020, West Virginia ranked number 44 of the 50 states for EV sales. In 2020, electric vehicles sales, including battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) accounted for less than 1 percent of all car sales in the state.
For stations funded as part of Phase 1, the typical standards will be:
• 150-350kW Max Power
• Access to 3 phase 480-volt power (typically 1000 amps, 660 kva)
• Site must include a minimum of four 150kw DCFC ports with Combined Charging System ports (three parking spaces for general use and one parking space with ADA-compliant access)
Additional standards for all stations will include:
• 45-minute charging time limit
• Idle fee after charging is complete/time limit is exceeded
• Safety lighting, restrooms, ADA accessibility
• Standard bollards and charger protection
• Open to the public and accessible 24/7 to both chargers and amenities
• Plug to Charge preferred (payment handles by vehicle when plugging in) but payments by phone/app/card will also be required
• Adequate signage to charger stations
• Spaces marked EV only
• Signs recommending charging to 80 percent
• Vendor required to make usage data per location available to WVDOT as needed
• Signage directing users to charging locations from the AFCs
• Real-time data sharing, including location, charger status, and fees available online.
For stations funded as part of Phase 2, the typical standards will be:
• J1772 Connector (industry standard)
• 6.6kW-19.2kW Max Power for Level II chargers
• 50kW-350kW Max Power for Level III chargers
• Same requirements for number of chargers, signage, markings, payment options, and data sharing as Phase 1
WVDOT says it will focus on meeting the NEVI program requirements and ask for exceptions when deviations are needed to meet unique site, geographic, cost, or other technical conditions
The program’s purpose is to expand access to electric vehicle charging by: • Accelerating equitable adoption of EVs, including for those who cannot reliably charge at home.
• Reducing transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions and help put the U.S. on a path to net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.
• Positioning U.S. industries to lead global transportation electrification efforts and help create family-sustaining union jobs that cannot be outsourced.
Additionally, the West Virginia legislature passed House Bill 4797 in June of 2022. It directs the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) to create the EV Infrastructure Development Plan for the State. The plan states:
“…shall take a holistic approach, considering the future charging infrastructure needs of school systems, public transportation, counties and municipalities, and other public and private users.”