SAN ANGELO, TX – The Texas Department of Transportation announced earlier this week a plan to use federal funds to install electric vehicle chargers every 50 miles across Texas interstate highway systems. With San Angelo's interstate not quite here yet, it left one question. How will this effect San Angelo and the Concho Valley?
According to TxDOT's public information officer Karen Threlkeld, there are a number of towns on their radar for the new chargers. Locations including Sonora, Eldorado, Menard, Brady, and Mason.
To receive the funding, charging stations must meet certain specifications. Those include things like voltage meters, certain signage, various charging types, and more.
Currently, there is a DC charging station in Ozona that meets the specifications, in addition to a Tesla station that could be modified in the future by Tesla to allow other types of plugs. Sonora is one of the locations with a study area for a possible site. Junction also has two DC charging stations that meet the standards, plus another Tesla station. There’s also a station in Segovia at the truck stop, but it needs another plug at least to meet standards. Eldorado, Menard, Brady, Mason also all have study locations for DC fast chargers.
The funding for the charging stations is coming from the federal funding program called the Investment and Infrastructure Jobs Act. The IIJA was signed into law on Nov. 15, 2021 and has several types of funding. There are two related directly to potentially installing new EV charging stations. One is using formula funding to each state, known as the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program (NEVI). That has already been announced and started, and that is what TxDOT is working on. The second large amount of funds will be through EV charging grants, but none of those have been announced yet, and the details of how to qualify and compete aren’t known.
Since San Angelo's interstate won't be here for another 20 years that means this go around the city will not be getting any new charging stations.
"TxDOT will administer the NEVI program, and through it we will contract to deliver initial charging structures across the state, both rural and metro. It starts with the alternative fuel corridors, primarily our interstates," stated Threlkeld in an email to San Angelo LIVE! "When that is completed to specification, then we will continue to use funds to build out more."
Currently there are four locations around town that offer charging stations; San Angelo KOA, Goodfellow Rec Camp, Staybridge Suites, and Jim Bass Ford.