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Wisconsin receives financing for electric vehicle network

The U.S. Department of Transportation just approved $900 million for 35 states.
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Posted at 2:00 PM, Sep 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-16 15:00:02-04

OAK CREEK — It will soon get a lot easier to charge an electric car in Wisconsin. This means buying electric vehicles will soon make a lot more sense.

We've been talking about this as a "Chicken and egg" scenario for the last couple of years. Do we need more electric cars to build more charging stations or do we need more places to plug in to sell more electric cars?

The answer to both appears to be yes. And now Wisconsin will share in nearly a billion dollars of federal money to get ready for the electric road ahead.

Watch: Check out the new charging stations in Oak Creek

Wisconsin receives financing for electric vehicle network

When it comes to cars, there's always a guy ready to get the hottest new model. But electric cars are a different kind of beast that not everyone is ready to bring home.

We asked people in Oak Creek if they'd buy an electric car. One person we spoke to said no, they wouldn't.

"First of all, I don't know anything about 'em and they seem to be very expensive," said one local.

A big part of the mystery is the totally different way you fill-up the tank on an electric car and the lack of reliable places to plug in and charge up.

Chelsea Chandler helps push for new electric vehicle infrastructure through "Clean Wisconsin." She says that barrier will soon be a little lower thanks to a big investment from the federal government.

"We still very much need some more public electric charging in Wisconsin so this will be a catalyst for getting more infrastructure in our state," Chandler said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation just approved $900 million for 35 states. The goal is to cover 53,000 miles of highway with a fast and reliable charging network.

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Chandler says it's a good start but more still needs to be done, like getting chargers to places more diverse than shopping mall parking lots.

"We still do need this public infrastructure and part of that is so we have fair access across the state. People who don't own homes, renters, have access to charging," Chandler said.

Bringing car charging into neighborhoods would help Wisconsin catch up with our neighbors.

At last count, we have 956 public charging stations across our state. Compare that with Minnesota which has 1,282, Michigan which has 2,319, and Illinois which has 2,444.

Because there are a lot of people out there willing to try an electric car and they'll all need somewhere to plug in.

The car app "Bumper" did its own survey of states where it is best to own an electric car. Wisconsin finished dead last.50 out of 50. So we have some work ahead of us.