(The Center Square) — Louisiana’s $91 million plan to install a network of electric vehicle chargers across the state gained approval this week from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The department’s Federal Highway Administration reviewed and approved the Louisiana Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan required under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program, created by Congress in last year’s infrastructure law.
“Today, with funding in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are taking an important step to build a nationwide electric vehicle charging network where finding a charge is as easy as locating a gas station,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Wednesday. “With the first set of approvals we are announcing today, 35 states across the country – with Democratic and Republican governors – will be moving forward to use these funds to install EV chargers at regular, reliable intervals along their highways.”
Wednesday’s approval unlocks $10.8 million in federal funds, with an estimated $15.6 million more for the current fiscal year and the following three. Over the five year program, Louisiana is expected to receive about $73.3 million in NEVI funding.
Louisiana’s EV infrastructure plan identifies approximately $91 million available, which includes the NEVI funding and $18 million from a required 20% match from grant recipients.
“Accordingly, the state estimates that it will be able to install 300-760 charging ports based on these numbers,” the EV plan reads. “The wide range is due to unpredictable factors such as inflation, (cost differences in estimates), supply chain change, site-specific variations, and other changes in hardware or labor costs over the funding period, which could all result in more or fewer allocated chargers from the available funds.”
Through mid-July, Louisiana had a total of 153 electric vehicle chargers across the state, though many are accessible only to Tesla owners. Of those, a dozen are non-Tesla fast charging stations, and only one currently meets the requirements for alternative fuel corridors in the federal guidance.
Louisiana’s EV plan identifies all 943 miles of interstate highways as EV corridors, as well as stretches of future Interstate 49 near New Orleans and State Highways 1 and 3235 near Port Fourchon, all of which were deemed eligible for the NEVI program.
“To make all nominated (alternative fuel corridor) segments compliant, the modeling suggest that 96 (fast chargers) at 24 sites should be installed at various locations along I-10, I-12, I-20, I-49, I-55, US-90, and a few local highways in the southern part of the state,” according to the plan.
Through the end of 2021, there were 3,065 electric vehicles registered in Louisiana, up about 63% from the year prior, though the vast majority are located near New Orleans and Baton Rouge. About half of the state’s 64 parishes have five or fewer registered EVs.