MILWAUKEE — The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has submitted a plan to the federal government to build a fleet of new fast charging stations for electric vehicles across the state.
The $78 million in funding would come from the federal Infrastructure Law. The goal is to build charging stations every 50 miles and no more than one mile off the exits of major fuel corridors in Wisconsin.
"Those corridors are largely all of our interstates in Wisconsin, as well as Highway 151, parts of 53, all of eight across Wisconsin," said WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson.
The number of electric vehicles registered with the state has grown over the years. Back in 2017, just 1,726 were registered; fast forward to 2021, and that number has increased to more than 9,039.
Last week Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan announced a plan to make electric vehicle charging more prevalent along the Great Lakes. Secretary Thompson said the state's plan will allow EV owners to travel across Wisconsin and the Midwest with confidence, a critical part of the state's economic competitiveness.
"As more and more people are driving electric vehicles, they're not going to go to a state and spend their tourism dollars if they are unsure that they are going to be able to charge up there," said Secretary Thompson.
The popularity of electric vehicles is growing across the nation too, with major automakers adding electric vehicles to their fleets.
The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act allowed a $7,500 EV tax credit for qualifying vehicles. However, there are strict rules to qualify for the credit. 40% of the metals used in a vehicle’s battery must come from North America. Some automakers are concerned that most vehicles won't qualify. The bill is expected to pass the House on Friday.
Secretary Thompson said most EV owners charge up at home for their shorter trips but this would be to help those who are traveling from out of state or in state taking longer overnight trips across Wisconsin.
"We feel we submitted a very strong plan, so we're hopeful it will get approval," said Secretary Thompson.
Secretary Thompson said the state should know if their plan was approved in about a month.