Oklahoma plans for electric car future
(KTEN) — Earlier this summer, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation asked for public input on its plan to use federal funding to boost electric vehicle infrastructure throughout the state.
Those plans have now been submitted to the federal government for review.
"It solidified our thoughts about how people are using EVs," said ODOT's multi-modal division manager Jared Schwennesen. "We heard a lot of concerns and some people who think they would like it in their area, along with naysayers who don't understand this process or why we are doing it, so it helped us grasp how Oklahoma feels about it."
Oklahoma will receive more than $66 million to expand the network of charging stations over the next five years.
"So every 50 miles along EV corridors, starting with interstates, because the first two years of funding will be used on interstates and covering all of the gaps we have there," Schwennesen explained. "To verify that Oklahomans and people traveling through Oklahoma have the availability to charge and not be worried about if they can fill up.”
Once ODOT gets the green light from the federal government, they'll start moving forward with the agency's five-year plan.
"Now we are waiting on the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation to respond to that and let us know if they approve it and if they have any questions or concerns," Schwennesen said. "Once we get that approval and move forward, we will start the grant process to allocate these funds to public and private entities so they can start building the EV infrastructure."
One family says the lack of charging stations while traveling has caused them several stressful situations.
"Range anxiety is real, and just to have more available chargers — whether that is Tesla or any others — it's a great thing," said electric car owner Tonisha Hudspeth.
"Some day it should be like gas stations, where you can drive around the country and not even think about it," Charlie Hudspeth added.