Gov. Beshear: Kentucky to get nearly $70M for electric vehicle charging network

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Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday that his state would receive nearly $70 million in federal funds to develop an electric vehicle charging network.

The funding will be combined with more than $9 billion in investments from electric vehicle battery makers and automotive suppliers to make the state a leader in the “EV revolution,” the governor’s office said.

“Kentucky was already a leader in automotive production and the EV battery production capital of the United States, which is helping us create thousands of high-quality jobs for Kentuckians,” Beshear said. “Today, we are further cementing the state’s status as a leader in the EV revolution by beginning to build the charging station infrastructure that will enable EV travel in every corner of our commonwealth.”

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) worked with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, the Kentucky Public Service Commission and the Federal Highway Administration to develop the state’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment plan that creates high-priority EV corridors in the state.

The plan was submitted to the U.S. Joint Office of Energy and Transportation in late July and has now been approved. Funding for the corridor will come from the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) formula program funds. Funding for the first two years of the program will be given to the Transportation Cabinet over the next few months. In all, including matching funds, nearly $87 million will be available over the next five years to build out the EV charging network infrastructure.

Initial funding must be used to build a network of direct current fast-charging stations that can fully charge an EV battery in 30 minutes or less along interstates and parkways. Kentucky has already identified other priority highways for charger access as part of future phases, the governor’s office said.

“Our goal is to have a statewide network of EV chargers by 2025,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray. “Approval of our EV plan by the federal government now ensures Kentucky will receive $25 million in federal funds this year to begin to design and build that network, starting with our interstates and parkways.”

The Federal Highway Administration approved the state’s plan for Alternative Fuel Corridors in July. That plan would designate all 11 of the state’s interstates and eight parkways as EV AFCs. Federal guidance requires that NEVI funding first goes toward building out the long-distance EV AFC network which locates fast-charging stations no more than 50 miles apart and not more than one mile off the AFC. Each charging station must have at least four ports and must not be proprietary. Other factors considered in identifying corridors included distance to existing charging stations, access in rural communities and equity.