Arkansas drivers could see more charging stations start popping up along major travel corridors as soon as next summer.
The Biden administration on Wednesday announced early approval of plans from 34 states, along with Puerto Rico, to implement their individual parts of an ambitious national electric vehicle charging network.
The approval unlocks more than $900 million in funding for the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure plan, which is part of Biden’s new infrastructure law.
The plan calls for adding 500,000 EV chargers across 53,000 miles of highway in the U.S. over the next five years.
The goal is to eliminate concerns about running out of power in the middle of a long trip, which is a worry that currently keeps many people from purchasing electric vehicles or using them on road trips. Officials said building out a reliable and convenient network will lead to more adoption of EV technology, which could reduce greenhouse emissions that cause global warming.
Arkansas is set to receive $54.1 million under the plan, including $8 million in 2022.
The state currently has 172 publicly available EV charging stations, but only five NEVI-compliant stations. In order to be compliant with NEVI standards, a station must have four charging ports that are each capable of 150kW of continuous power and located within one mile of an interstate interchange.
With the new funding, the state plans to add a new NEVI-compliant station every 50 miles on Arkansas’ interstates. That could equate to about 50 new stations, at a cost of about $1 million each.
The new stations won’t be owned or operated by the state department. Instead, they’ll be built on other public land or on private property. The state’s five existing stations are at Walmart stores in Rogers, Clarksville, Forrest City, Little Rock and Hope.
State officials have identified 148 potential interchanges that could receive new stations. There are also six existing stations that could be upgraded to NEVI standards.