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Electric vehicle charging network coming to CT, as state considers new car mandate

Now, the state is getting a new fast charging network – thanks to millions of dollars from Washington.

John Craven

Oct 31, 2023, 9:31 PM

Updated 199 days ago

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In just 12 years, all new car sales in Connecticut could be electric. But there's a problem – not enough charging stations.
Now, the state is getting a new fast charging network – thanks to millions of dollars from Washington.
“YOU NEED MORE CHARGE”
Hitting the highway is an adventure. But if you drive an electric vehicle, road trips can be stressful, worrying about finding someplace to charge.
“You can go from Bridgeport to Waterbury and your charge is about gone,” said EV owner Gabrielle Turner. “If I'm halfway on the mark, I make sure I get my car charged.”
Direct current fast chargers can refill most cars in 30 minutes or less, but Connecticut only has a limited number of stations – and they’re prone to outages.
That's a problem, since Gov. Ned Lamont wants new car sales to go all-electric by 2035.
“On a road trip, it can be a little bit challenging,” said Rachael, another EV owner. “The infrastructure isn't necessarily quite there yet.”
NEW FAST CHARGER NETWORK
A lot more chargers are coming to Connecticut, thanks to the new federal infrastructure law. “We have a little bit more than $50 million coming to us in new federal funds to help bridge that gap,” said Josh Morgan, a spokesperson for the Connecticut Department of Transportation.
Under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program, private companies will build and operate the new stations. Federal NEVI grants will cover up to 80% of the installation cost.
An initial $15 million will build a dozen charging stations at “priority locations” every 50 miles along major highways. They include I-95 in Norwalk, I-84 in Danbury and Waterbury and Route 7 in New Milford. New York State already has a similar “Evolve NY” network.
“If you have a longer commute, or you tend to drive farther distances on a regular basis, then knowing that there's more infrastructure might incentivize getting an EV,” said Rachael.
The stations must be located within one mile of the exit ramp, and be able to charge at least four vehicles at once. They also must meet a 97% relaibitiity threshold under federal rules.
WHAT’S NEXT?
These new chargers won't arrive overnight. DOT will start taking bids early next year, with installations expected in the next year or two.
Morgan said another round of chargers will follow, funded by the remaining federal infrastructure money.
As for Lamont’s EV sales mandate, it faces an uncertain future. The bi-partisan Regulation Review Committee is expected to vote on the proposal Nov. 28, but it’s unclear if it has enough support to pass.


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