Arizona Electric Vehicle Drivers Give ADOT Valuable Input on Building Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure


Last year’s infrastructure bill, which funded hundreds of thousands of future electric vehicle charging stations, continues to drive innovation. The federal government has asked states for electric vehicle charging plans, with the following specifications for interstate highways (which must be covered first):

  • Gaps of no more than 50 miles between chargers and chargers within one mile of the highway
  • At least four chargers of 150 kW or more, with CCS connectors
  • Ability to simultaneously charge four vehicles at this rate or more
  • Exceptions are available for each on a case-by-case basis (power unavailability, etc.), but funding can be used to prepare a site for the stations by adding power generation capacity, etc.

Once the federal government obtains a comprehensive plan, funds will be distributed and construction will begin, possibly as early as the end of this year.

It has been interesting to see different states taking different approaches to making plans. Texas DOT quickly came up with a draft plan, releasing it a few weeks ago. The Washington State DOT has an interactive map that people can add suggested stations to and then “heart” suggestions for stations they like. Arizona DOT asked people to sign up for a mailing list, take a survey, and then announced a public meeting.

In this article, I’m going to cover some of the most interesting information from the public meeting, which you can see here or watch below (the article continues after the video). While the purpose of the meeting was for ADOT to get more information from the public, it also gives us a glimpse of what electric vehicle charging will look like in Arizona in the future and gives us ideas what to do next. other states, manufacturers and electric vehicle charging companies could use. . If nothing else, there may be some good information for investors (who seem to enjoy reading our articles).

Before asking for feedback they gave us good information

They started with a presentation, which gave background information on the electric vehicle charging plan, where the funding comes from, federal rules, and more. (I talked about it at the beginning of the article). They talked a bit about the matching funding (20% is from a private entity) and the fact that they’re not using any state money for the project (which would be unpopular in a red state). They talked about the state’s interstate highway corridors and the current situation.

You can download their presentation here.

They then showed us a map of potential locations and where they are going to face challenges adhering to federal rules (maximum 50 mile gap between stations).

They also told us that they plan to get all preliminary feedback by August 1, then release a draft plan and final plans in the fall, with further public meetings to update residents and plan companies and get final feedback.

Notable Audience Comments and Questions

An open question is which stations will need to be new and which will need to be upgraded to meet federal requirements. On their map, they have identified several possible sites for this, but they don’t yet know who will actually do it. In other words, ADOT is going to leave certain decisions open to multiple possibilities in its final plan to make it flexible enough to implement in multiple ways as the time draws nearer to obtain permits and advance contractors.

Another popular question was how Tesla’s supercharger vehicles and stations fit into this plan. Unfortunately, Tesla’s stations do not currently meet federal standards (because they are not CCS). ADOT contacted Tesla and asked them to upgrade Tesla stations to have CCS outlets. The Tesla representative indicated that he was open to working with ADOT to set up some CCS stations at Supercharger sites. But Tesla is still studying the matter to make sure it would work for them, both physically and legally. Either way, it’s good to see that ADOT is in touch with Tesla to work it into the plan in some way, if possible.

Another interesting thing about the plan is that Arizona wants to make stations private as much as possible. They want to use federal funds to build them and even operate/maintain them for up to 5 years (as allowed by federal rules), but they want the sites to remain under fully private ownership and operation much longer. Again, this is a red state, and they don’t want the government to do anything they don’t need to (in theory).

Network capacity was another thing people were commenting on and asking questions about. The ADOT folks have spoken to the utilities, and the utilities all feel comfortable with the stations that would be installed as part of this phase of EV build (which won’t be too many). Upgrades will certainly be needed in some cases, especially for smaller utilities, but they have all already worked on plans to meet future electric vehicle charging energy needs. So, it’s not something to worry about as much as working as planned.

Reliability was another important issue they were asked about. They aim for 97% reliability and work hard to ensure there are security features, robust cybersecurity (especially for payments), and other elements to make the sites as safe and reliable as possible.

Another question people asked was how to make these stations more sustainable. Charging standards and speeds have obviously changed a lot over the past decade and will continue to change over the next decade. Federal guidelines recommend that stations be built with large conduit, spare capacity, and other things to make it easier to upgrade stations later for more power without having to rip everything out and start from bare earth. .

For the expansion, they try to spread the construction as much as possible throughout the state. They’re not going to overbuild interstate corridors, and they’ll have extra money to put chargers in other parts of the state. They do everything they can to work with existing stations and upgrade possibilities to be as efficient as possible.

Some questions were about the sites themselves. They are also actively looking at amenities, including things to do, restrooms, food, shade (a big one in Arizona), and pull loaders for people towing. They won’t be doing things like storing solar power and batteries at sites that don’t need it (so they can install more stations), but when there is a need to install a station , they are very open to the idea. Venues will almost always have four stalls, not because they don’t think more will be needed, but because they’d rather fill in the gaps in the EV charging map than focus too much on certain lanes .

One area that we know doesn’t have stations is the ADOT rest areas. There are other federal laws that prevent you from doing this unless the station is publicly operated, and Arizona (as well as most states) doesn’t want to do that.

One last thing that was a little funny was that they seemed to get questions about embezzlement, and the hosts certainly had a little trouble presenting them. Obviously, that means a bunch of anti-EV people showed up trying to convince ADOT to spend the money on something else. But, that’s not legal as part of the infrastructure bill money, so ADOT can’t spend the EV money on other things. They had to explain repeatedly that no state tax money will go to the stations.

ADOT makes good efforts here

Overall, seeing the presentation made it clear that ADOT actually put a lot of thought into this. Their presenters seemed knowledgeable on the subject, knew the challenges, and seemed to want to spread the benefits as much as possible. They’ll probably end up with a decent, well-thought-out plan.

Image featured by ADOT.


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