Where Ohio stands with electric vehicle adoption

Now, however, with the passage of the federal bipartisan infrastructure law, Ohio will be participating in an allocation from a $5 billion pool to build out an electric vehicle infrastructure charging along major highway corridors. By 2030, the program expects to have 500,000 publicly accessible charging stations compatible with all vehicles and technologies.

As a result, the Ohio Department of Transportation will receive $20.7 million a year for the next five years to install chargers along what the Federal Highway Administration calls Designated Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs) — the state’s interstate highways plus several major federal highways, such as Route 33, connecting Columbus with Athens, the home of Ohio University. The charging stations will typically be placed every 50 miles along 1,800 miles of highway.

In addition, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), the regional transportation planning organization for Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina counties, is playing an important role in deploying publicly available charging stations.

It already has assigned $3 million to install 120 charging stations at public places across its five-county territory. Its planned sites include Avon City Hall, the Brecksville Community Center, the Geauga County Courthouse in Chardon, Lakeland Community College and the Medina County Jail.

Now, with additional federal money on the way from the Transporation Department’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program, NOACA will have as much as $20 million for additional public charging stations.

Grace Gallucci, NOACA’s executive director and CEO, believes replacing gasoline-engine cars with electric vehicles can play a significant role in cutting air pollution.

“We want to make sure that EV charging is available in as many public places as possible,” she said. “That includes libraries and parks, but it also includes places where people live in rented or multifamily homes and can’t install their own home chargers.”

The Ohio EPA is also lending a hand. Using funds from the settlement of a lawsuit over violations of the federal Clean Air Act it has awarded $7 million to support the installation of electric vehicle charging ports at public and private locations statewide. Cleveland Clinic applied to the EPA for chargers at all eligible hospitals and family health centers and, in a press release, said it has begun installation of what may be as many as 124 charging spaces at 22 of its locations. It currently has 14 spaces at four locations in Northeast Ohio.

“This initiative supports Cleveland Clinic’s commitment to clean air and healthy communities,” a press release said. “Electric vehicle chargers will be publicly available for patients, caregivers and visitors. They will be compatible with all current models of electric vehicles.”

The issue of compatibility — which vehicles can use which kind of charger — should not be a problem for most EV owners. The most common chargers are called Level 1 and Level 2 chargers, which use the same standard plug. DC chargers and the Tesla Supercharger are sometimes called Level 3 and are less common and can only be used by certain vehicles — for example, Tesla vehicles.

However you charge, it’s not as fast as pumping gas. Level 1 chargers use a standard 120-volt plug and are typically for home use, since it can take up to 12 hours to get a full charge. Level 2 chargers use a 240-volt plug and are the kind in use at public charging stations. Depending on the vehicle and the charger connection, they can deliver 12 to 80 miles of range per hour. Level 3 charges 10 miles or more per minute.

Blink Charging Co., a Miami Beach firm that installs and operates charging stations, is involved in several programs in Ohio, including the installations at the Clinic.

“What we’re doing is Level 2 chargers because a lot of businesses want that, because you have employees who are going to be working all day or shoppers spending a lot of time at shopping malls,” said Jon Myers, Blink Charging’s media director . “DC fast chargers are making a big splash, especially on major highways where people don’t want to spend a lot of time to pull over to charge.”

The cost of a charge varies. On the Ohio Turnpike, which currently offers charging at four service plazas (two in each direction), the charge is 40 cents a minute for DC fast charging and 3 cents a minute for Level 2 charging. The city of Lakewood has several public charging stations including at City Hall and the Serpentini Winterhurst Skating Rink and had been offering the service to residents at no cost until earlier this year. It instituted a fee of 24 cents per kilowatt hour on March 1.

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