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Texas Department of Transportation to Create Statewide Network of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
According to the draft, it is “a multi-year plan to enable current and future drivers of EVs to confidently travel across the state for work, recreation, and exploration.”
The idea was conceived after the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was signed into law by President Biden in November 2021. The federal law allocated $408 million for Texas to create a network of charging stations.
The White House also stated that, “Texas will also have the opportunity to apply for the $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to EV charging in the bill.”
According to their schedule in the draft, TxDOT will submit the plan to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) by August 1, 2022 and, pending approval, will submit their solicitation for charging stations by October 1. TxDOT wants to start awarding contracts to build charging stations in January 2023 and continue for the next five years.
For the time being, TxDOoT “will focus on interstate routes then transition to off interstate routes and urban areas.”
Regarding the contracts, the draft states, “TxDOT will contract with private sector entities on a competitive basis to develop EV charging stations across the state. A solicitation with standards and expectations will be developed to collect, evaluate, and award contracts. Contracting language will include all federal requirements and guidelines.”
According to the Federal Highway Administration, an Electric Alternative Fuel Corridor must have no more than 50 miles between each charging station, stations must be no more than 1 mile from the interstate exit, and each station must supply power at a rate of 150 kilowatts.
One of TxDOT’s goals for the plan is to “Expand Electric Alternative Fuel Corridors to include almost all non-business Interstate routes.” Routes that are not Electric Alternative Fuel Corridors will still have charging stations, spaced at a maximum of 70 miles apart instead of 50.
According to the draft, there are just over 129,000 EVs registered in Texas, around one percent of all registered vehicles in the state. That number has “nearly tripled” since 2020, and “The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) estimates there will be 1 million EVs on the road in Texas by 2028.”
EV manufacturing is picking up in Texas. Last year, Fort Worth attempted to court EV manufacturer Rivian with a $400 million tax break; in April this year, Tesla launched its new factory in Austin where the company is now headquartered.
Concerning its long-term goals, the draft reads, “The density, distribution, and power of the EV network outlined in this plan is targeted to support 1 million electric vehicles when built out.”
“Drivers will have multiple options for EV Charging along their intended travel route.”