Kentucky continues push to add EV charging stations statewide

February 21, 2024

Kentucky’s push to encourage citizens to drive electric vehicles is still in the works, with plans in place to add up to 40 new EV fast charging stations throughout the state by 2025.

The state is seeking proposals to install 16 new stations along its interstates and parkways using $70 million in federal funding administered via the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Program that is a part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The new stations will represent the second phase of the EV charging station project. The first phase officially kicked off last week at a Circle K in Richmond, where the first of 24 charging stations is being installed, Gov. Andy Beshear said.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) oversees the program and is responsible for administering the funds.

“The number of registered EVs in Kentucky continues to grow, and we want to ensure current and future owners have a reliable network of charging stations to support long-distance EV travel,” KYTC Secretary Jim Gray said.

Seven developers have been selected to install chargers during the project’s first phase. Total federal funding for these sites is $15.4 million. The initial sites serve most of Kentucky’s long distance EV alternative fuel corridors (AFCs).

The second request for proposals will seek to award funding for up to 16 more charging stations to complete the long-distance network while meeting the federal requirement to have charging stations every 50 miles on all AFCs across the state.

The RFP, like the one issued in 2023, will seek bids from private developers to design, build, own, operate and maintain fast charging stations for five years after construction is complete.

Responses to this RFP will be due in mid-April.

Additionally, KYTC will host a networking event March 5 for those interested in leading or being part of a proposal team.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) requires charging stations be installed first on federally designated AFCs, which in Kentucky includes all interstates and parkways.
The Circle K Richmond location is one of two sites Circle K will own and operate and is an example of the fast-charging stations to be built across the state.

That charging site will initially offer four 180 kilowatt (kW) fast chargers capable of recharging a typical EV in under 20 minutes. 

The private developers building the stations must fund at least 20% of the construction and operational costs for the first five years, with NEVI covering the balance.

Kentucky’s push to pave the way for EV motoring contrasts sharply with a recent bill passed by the state’s House of Representatives that disallows state agencies from purchasing EVs for official use for the next two years.

Members of the GOP-led house have not publicly commented on the most recent version of the bill, which was published earlier this month.

Frank Jemley, the president and CEO of the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, said his group wants to see the mandate modified to allow state agencies to purchase from a wide variety of vehicle options, ranging from hybrids to EVs.

“The Kentucky automotive industry is moving, as you know, well beyond internal combustion engines to hybrids and plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles,” Jemley said. “We should not limit state government’s purchases to the only technology that seems to be allowed in the current provision.”

Stuart Ungar, co-founder of the EV advocacy group Evolve KY, said the mandate could pose higher costs taxpayers due to EVs being more inexpensive to maintain and operate.

“It’s 2024 — they really should be open to including electric vehicles,” Ungar said. “Car companies [are] really stepping up and investing in Kentucky in a big way with electric vehicles and electric vehicle batteries.”

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Photo courtesy of the Kentucky Association of Counties

Miles Smith

Miles Smith has more than two decades of communications experience in the public and private sectors, including several years of covering local governments for various daily and weekly print publications. His scope of work includes handling public relations for large private-sector corporations and managing public-facing communications for local governments.

Smith has recently joined the team as a content writer for SPI’s news publications, which include Texas Government Insider, Government Contracting Pipeline and its newest digital product, Government Market News, which launched in September 2023. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s in journalism.

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