Plan approved for electric vehicle charging stations around Alaska
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - In order to expand Alaskans’ ability to use electric vehicles (EVs) in the state, the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) developed a plan for expanding the state’s EV infrastructure.
According to Curtis Thayer, Executive Director of AEA, “Literally, you are starting with nothing, and within 60 days, you had to develop at statewide plan which turned out to be 100 pages long.”
On September 27, the AEA’s plan was approved by the United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration for deployment in Alaska. This approval comes with around $52 million in funding over the next five years.
The plan starts with adding charging stations along the Parks Highway.
Eventually, more of the state will follow. “You have future phases, which would be looking at Tok and Delta, Glenallen,” Thayer said. “You would also have Homer to Anchorage, and then the Marine Highway System also qualifies.”
The plan is for these stations to eventually be seen even along the west coast of Alaska, according to Thayer. “[We’re] looking at the hub communities of Kotzebue, Nome, Dillingham, Bethel.”
Before the plan can be brought to fruition, however, some details need to be fleshed out. Thayer explained, “We don’t know where the charging stations are going, and what we’ve done is we’ll put out a request for information and find out who would like to host these charging stations, whether it’s a business or school district or municipality.”
Logistical difficulties with operating electric vehicles in the Interior also need to be resolved. “It’s primarily a battery issue,” Thayer said. “They don’t hold a charge as well in very cold weather or very hot weather.”
Once complete, the added charging stations are expected to reduce range anxiety for EV drivers, and in Fairbanks area, “The more people that are going to be using electric vehicles, the air quality will definitely improve,” Thayer said.
He also explained the market for these vehicles in Alaska is expected to grow. “We’re seeing a steady increase in the number of electric vehicles. Matter of fact, we talked to a local Ford dealer, and they said they have 600 orders for the Ford Lightning alone.”
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