So. Oregon will be first to see federally funded EV fast chargers in 2023

SOUTHERN OREGON, Ore. – Gas-powered cars, trucks and SUVs are on their way out, in Oregon.

“EVs are coming, regards of we have mandates like the new ones,” ODOT spokesperson Matt Noble said.

Last month, state regulators approved a rule banning the sale of new gas-powered vehicles in the state by 2035.

Meaning more electric vehicles and hybrids will hitting the roads.

But many are worried about charging them.

“Regardless of manufacture, we’re worried about the infrastructure in our state,” Butler Kia General Manager Craig Hansen said. “Having enough options for people to charge. You live in an apartment complex or town home, there’s not a lot of options there unless you have garage space and I think that’s the 13 year window we have, they’re going to have to do a great job at building infrastructure.”

Right now, ODOT said its averaging 1,000 new EV registrations a month.

But that’s about to change, as EV‘s become more popular.

That’s why ODOT is expecting 50 new fast chargers to be installed over the next five years.

“The stations have to be a minimum 50 miles apart and within one mile of an exit,” Noble said. “So the idea is you’re cruising along 5 and oh look, a charging station, go charge, and it’s a fast charger so it goes quicker.”

These additional chargers are part of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program, funded by the Bi-partisan Infrastructure Law passed in 2021.

Oregon is set to get $65 million from the federal government over the next five years to fund fast EV chargers.

The state will pay an additional 35 million dollars.

ODOT said we’ll start seeing chargers in 2023 with Southern Oregon being one of the first to get them.

“Year one is going to be I-5 south of Eugene, it’s going to be US 97 in Central Oregon and it’s going to be Interstate 205 in the Portland metro area,” Noble said.

Currently, there’s only a handful of fast chargers in Southern Oregon.

“Seeing more public charging infrastructure and having more access to public charging infrastructure will help spur more people to adopt EVs,” Noble said.

Hansen said, there’s plenty of time for the EV market to take off before 2035.

But with improved charging infrastructure, he expects EVs to become an important part of his dealership.

“At some point soon in the next handful of years, we should six to eight full electric vehicles,” he said. “And I think that will be a bigger footprint of our total sales.”

ODOT said a program will launch some time this year for businesses like an apartment complex to apply for chargers in their communities.

NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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