Ohio is the first state to announce NEVI fast charger locations – but it’s still an EV laggard

Ohio is now the first US state to announce the locations for its federal NEVI-funded DC charging stations – but its EV registration policy stinks.

Where Ohio’s NEVI-funded charging stations are going

The state will award more than $18 million in National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Program funds for 27 DC fast charging stations along seven of Ohio’s interstate corridors, including I-70, I-71, I-74, I-75, I-76, I-77, and I-90. Private organizations are also contributing $6 million to the program.

The charging stations will be sited next to travel centers, supermarkets, retail shops, a hotel, a restaurant, and a bank.

The new DC charging stations will be located every 50 miles and will be no more than 1 mile off the interstate. Each site will include at least four 150 kW charger ports and will be accessible 24/7 with easy access to food, drink, and restrooms. They’re all expected to come online next year.

Governor Mike DeWine’s (R-OH) website says that the Ohio Department of Transportation will issue its second request for proposals to install an additional 16 DC fast charging stations along Ohio’s major US and state routes. Ohio will receive $140 million in NEVI funds over the next five years to install EV charging stations across the state.

The US Department of Transportation’s NEVI program is providing funding to states to build a US-wide network of EV chargers. The program has been allotted $1 billion a year for five years from 2022.

Most states are expected to provide access to NEVI funding in 2023. According to the US Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, the program will result in EV chargers having a presence across more than 75,000 miles of US highway.

Electrek’s Take

It’s great to see where NEVI chargers are actually going for the first time – it’s a significant step in the NEVI program.

DeWine said in his announcement, “This is an exciting time for Ohio as we continue to lead the charge in electric mobility.” But Ohio isn’t exactly the “electric mobility” leader that DeWine says it is.

Here’s a snapshot of where Ohio stands when it comes to EVs and charging infrastructure: According to location data and tech company HERE Technologies, Ohio ranks 10th among states for having the most EV charging stations, with 1,623. That’s a pretty respectable ranking. It has 23 EVs per charging station.

However, Ohio has burdened EV drivers with one of the highest registration fees in the US for BEV and hybrid vehicles. Also it has no tax credit for EV purchases and it also doesn’t do an HOV lane or any other incentives.

The annual registration fee for all passenger vehicles is $31. If you drive hybrid, you have to pay an extra $100 a year. And if you drive a BEV, then you have to pay an extra $200 a year. If you drive a gas car, it’s zero extra charge. That means BEV drivers pay nearly seven times more to register their car than gas car drivers.

Frankly, that’s downright EV-hostile to the projected 37,300 EV drivers in Ohio for this year.

Two high school sophomores in Cleveland wrote an article in May for cleveland.comand they rightly pointed out how unfair the EV registration policy is:

According to an Ohio Department of Transportation study presuming an average 10,000 miles driven per year, the owner of an average-efficiency, gas-powered car (getting 20 to 30 miles per gallon) currently pays – between gas taxes and registration fees – $191 per year. The registration fee for electric vehicles alone is $231, a big difference.

So, nice one on the EV chargers, Ohio. But its state legislators need to fix this burdensome EV registration situation immediately.

That is – if they really do want to stop the greenwashing and “lead the charge.”

Read more: The best (and worst) US states for EV charging

Photo: EVGo

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