See how the state plans to spend these funds.
The Wisconsin Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (WEVI) Plan is Wisconsin’s version of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Plan – a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) program signed by the Biden administration last year. The NEVI program provides funding to states to strategically deploy electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to facilitate access and reliability. The programs must also support the Justice40 Initiative, which states that at least forty percent of federal investments in climate and clean energy infrastructure benefits are distributed to disadvantaged communities.
The Wisconsin Electrification Initiative (WIEV) within the Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is ready to finalize its plan, which outlines how Wisconsin will spend the $78.65 Million of available funding to build, operate and maintain Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations in the State. This funding is part of a $7.5 billion package to create a national network of 500,000 EV chargers by 2030.
The NEVI funding will be distributed over five years (2022 – 2026). The first round of funding will prioritize the development of EV charging stations every 50 miles along the State’s portions of the Interstate Highway System within one travel mile of the Interstate. The new charging stations must have at least four EV fast charging ports.
The NEVI program also allocates $2.5 billion for discretionary grants to support charging stations along Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs) and community charging grants. The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation will provide additional guidance for discretionary grants in Fall 2022.
WisDOT has opened the Wisconsin Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Plan for public input. Wisconsin residents are encouraged to send comments and feedback using this link by July 24, 2022.
Wisconsin’s EV infrastructure plan is thorough with a smart methodology to identify potential locations for charging stations. However, RENEW would like to see more emphasis on fulfilling the goals of the Justice40 initiative.
Wisconsin has an incredible opportunity to ensure that all communities can benefit from these federal infrastructure investments. RENEW recommends that the WEVI plan allocate adequate resources for outreach to disadvantaged communities. The plan should apportion a budget to hire community outreach professionals that have access to these communities and the organizations that serve them. Building these partnerships will ensure meaningful community engagement, especially concerning BIPOC, rural, limited English proficiency, and low-income communities.
While EVs have a higher upfront cost than internal combustion vehicles, owners can save a lot on fuel and maintenance costs. Still, it can be easy to discount the benefits or impact of EV charging infrastructure for non-EV owners in disadvantaged communities. However, with car manufacturers committing to electric transportation, including GM pledging to be all-electric by 2035 and Ford by 2030, EV charging infrastructure will soon be vital in all reaches of the state. Bringing a complete representation of voices to the table during the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the WEVI plan will ensure equitable participation and access to the benefits of EV infrastructure.
An investment in EV infrastructure is an investment in Wisconsin’s future, and we encourage everyone to engage in this planning process by sending comments and feedback to WisDOT.