LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Preparations for supporting electric vehicles in Arkansas are moving forward with the draft of its electric vehicle infrastructure plan opening for public comment.
The Arkansas Department of Transportation plan in its current form shows Arkansas will have corridors for electric vehicles along Interstates 30, 40 and 49 with a charging station every 50 miles, each within a mile of an exit. Each charging station will have four spots to plug in an electric car, all per federal guidelines.
An electric car has a 200-to-300-mile range and will take 10 to 20 minutes to recharge, on average.
The electric vehicle plan for the state was drawn up by ARDOT, working with other state and federal agencies as part of the larger National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program, itself part of the still-larger bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law November 2021.
The bill provides $54.1 million into Arkansas for alternative fuel corridors which include fuel stations for hydrogen, propane and natural gas, as well as electric charging. Arkansas will receive its first share of the money, $8 million, this year.
The current draft plan opening for comment is to support electric vehicles.
ARDOT will not own or operate any of the charging stations, per the plan in its current form. These will be created by private or public investment, or a shared public-private investment, with each charging station expected to cost $1 million, 80% of which will be funded by government grant, the remaining 20% by the investor.
By ARDOT figures, shown in the draft, the number of electric vehicles in Arkansas continue to increase. In 2022 the number of EVs has increased 43% from the 2021 number, for a total of 2,997 currently registered in the state, primarily in Benton, Pulaski and Washington counties. Less than 1,000 EVs were Arkansas-registered in 2019.
The bipartisan infrastructure bill provides $5 billion for the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program to create a network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations nationwide, including Arkansas. The bill includes funding not just for fueling/charging stations along the corridors in the ARDOT plan, but also fueling stations within communities.
The ARDOT draft electric vehicle plan does not address community stations.
Public comments on the draft of the plan, which may be seen at ARDOT.gov/eplan, will remain open through July 19. Comments may be submitted via email to ardot_nevi@ARDOT.gov.