As government officials at the state and national levels continue to encourage consumers to convert from gasoline or diesel powered vehicles to more environmentally friendly electric vehicles (EVs), they are simultaneously creating a need that will be critical to public acceptance in the years ahead — powerful, fast and conveniently located charging stations.

During a recent public briefing, Yassmin Gramian, Secretary of the state Department of Transportation noted that $171.5 million has been allocated to Pennsylvania from the federal National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program, which extends from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, adopted by Congress and signed by the president last year.

Pennsylvania has submitted a required plan that outlines how the state intends to use the federal funds to deploy charging stations as it builds a network to serve current and future EV owners.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has given us a great opportunity, and I’m proud of the progress that we — along with our partners — have made to prepare Pennsylvania for a future filled with electric vehicles,” Gramian said.

There are currently 31,000 EVs registered in Pennsylvania, a number that is nearly triple the roughly 9,700 that were registered in March 2019, but just a tiny fraction of the 12.12 million highway vehicles of all kinds registered in Pennsylvania. In 2021, there were 130 EVs registered in Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties, according to the state Department of Transportation.

To keep those EVs moving when they venture away from their home- or business-based charging ports, Pennsylvania has more than 2,800 public charging ports at more than 1,200 locations.

To meet estimates on EV growth in the years ahead, however, Pennsylvania will need about 50,000 non-home chargers by 2028. The PA Electric Vehicle Mobility Plan projects a mix of public and private installations. To support this level of charging access, Pennsylvania’s EV Mobility Plan recommends the installation of at least 5,000 new EV charging ports at 2,000 sites across the state by 2028, an effort that will leverage public-private partnerships, cost sharing plans and federal funding.

In their plans submitted to the federal government, state officials envision public parks, colleges, fairs, sporting venues, airports, train stations, grocery and convenience stores and shopping centers as locations for convenient access to EV chargers.

Pennsylvania is also planning to reach out to business owners, outlining the kinds of locations and stops that would be attractive to those looking to plug into equipment capable to charging up a vehicle within 30 minutes. Some of the best businesses to host direct current (DC) “fast chargers” may be restaurants, convenience stores, shopping centers or any other easily accessible parking spots where an EV driver could shop or use other amenities during the 20 to 30 minutes of charging time.

Information on locations and types of charging stations will be as critical as the plugs themselves in years ahead, and Pennsylvania appears to be off to a good start.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Digital Editor Dave Hilliard.

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