Ohio opens up first electric vehicle charging station paid for by federal-private partnership

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — In 2021, Congress and the Biden administration committed $7.5 billion for electric vehicle chargers to be built around the country through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program. Two years later, Ohio was the first state to announce it would get some of that money for EV charging stations. That happened in July, and now the first one in the US is operational in central Ohio.

The charging station is at a Pilot travel center at the US 42 exit off I-70 going west near London. It has two charging stalls, and each can provide up to 350 kW when charging a single vehicle, or up to 175kW when charging more than one. With this setup, most EVs can charge up to 80% in around 40 minutes.

Governor Mike DeWine stands with a small crowd watching a man showing off the new charging station.
Gov. Mike DeWine gets a demonstration of how the electric vehicle charging station works, as Alex Keros from General Motors, Ohio Department of Transportation director Jack Marchbanks and Marcy Bauer from EVgo look on. The EV charging station at the Pilot travel center at the U.S. 42 exit off I-70 West has been operational since Friday, December 8, 2023. [Karen Kasler | Statehouse News Bureau]
“These projects take a long time because they are mini construction projects. So we need time to design, engineer, do public involvement, environmental clearance work—and all of that can take a while just to begin,” said Preeti Chowdhury with the high tech DriveOhio initiative within the Ohio Department of Transportation. “We were able to accomplish that in this station’s case in less than one year. The actual construction took just over a month, so we moved really, really fast, despite the narrative that we’re moving slowly.”

And Chowdhury noted more are coming soon: “We’ve got design drawings for 11 more stations. Those should be built by the summer at the latest. Beyond that, we’ll have a full 24 built in in ‘24. So we’re very excited about that. In 2025, we’ll have another 25 coming online.”

The charging isn’t free, but the stations have kicked in money to install the chargers. They’ll be located near interstates at sites considered safe that are open 24/7 and have restrooms and food. In the next two years, another 50 EV charging stations built through this program are expected to be running in Ohio.