FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — You have until Tuesday, July 19 to recommend to state officials where you’d like to see more electric vehicle charging stations.
Dave Parker with the Arkansas Department of Transportation didn’t give an exact number on how many charging stations will be added, but he said the goal is to have a charging station every 50 miles along the interstate and some added to key highways.
Parker said Arkansas will get more than $54 million over the next five years. ARDOT will use these funds to build out the entrances to the charging stations, roads to get there, and parking spaces.
A third party company will then come in to install the chargers and profit from them.
“We’ve already had interest from some private companies around the state that are interested in building this out. They would then take over that facility and make profit off of that. We would not be getting in the charging car business,” said Parker
This first year is mainly for planning. ARDOT is asking people for input on where they want to see the chargers and what type.
You can share where you’d like to see one by visiting ARDOT’s website here.
Parker said by the end of 2023, we should start seeing these new charging stations pop up.
Joel Spencer is a board member of the Tesla Owners Club of Arkansas. He’s excited and hopes it’ll increase electric vehicle ownership in the state.
He said the main thing holding people back from getting an electric vehicle is the lack of infrastructure for charging stations when traveling around the state.
Spencer said going east to west isn’t as challenging as north to south. For example, a trip from Little Rock to St. Louis gets tricky when it comes to finding a place to charge up.
“It’s not like owning a gas vehicle where you can just get in and go. There is some planning involved,” said Spencer.
While you’re charging your vehicle, Spencer said it’s nice to grab a bite to eat or shop around. He thinks the additional charging stations popping up in the state will also help boost the economy.
Both Parker and Spencer said there’s more interest in electric vehicles in the Northwest part of the state and expect more people to start buying them more once there’s additional chargers.
Parker said by the end of the five years, Arkansas will be ready to support the electric car industry.