In March 2022, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) started a process to plan how the state will spend $100 million in funds allocated for a new public network of Level 3 DC Fast Charge charging stations across the state. Hoosier EVA joined with Solar United Neighbors (SUN), a nonprofit dedicated to helping Hoosiers build a clean, just, and equitable energy system, to submit the following comments in response to INDOT’s initial request for information that will inform their plan on April 29, 2022.
Thank you for this opportunity to provide public input on the Indiana Department of Transportation’s (INDOT) plans for the development of electric vehicle (EV) charging networks within the State of Indiana. On behalf of Solar United Neighbors (SUN), Hoosier Electric Vehicle Association (Hoosier EVA), and more than 4,500 supporters of our two organizations around the state, we are writing to ensure that current and future EV owners who will benefit from this foundational infrastructure investment have a voice in the planning process.
As EV owners and supporters, we wish to provide the following principles for your consideration in the development of our State’s broad EV charging infrastructure plan and in the specific deployment of National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program funds available from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law:
- EV charging is an inherently competitive and innovative market and Indiana’s plan for deploying these valuable public funds should foster an environment that enables and incentivizes continued innovation in the future as the marketplace and technologies continue to develop.
- We support the guidelines for EV charging criteria outlined for alternative fuel corridors as proposed by the Federal Highway Administration. To ensure the EV charging stations supported by these public funds are best located for public use, we suggest the following additional criteria for ideal placement:
-Charging locations should have adequate space and the underlying infrastructure to meet future demand by adding capacity and / or adopting new technologies as EV charging evolves and the EV market continues to grow.
– All locations should be safe, well-lit, and include safe walking paths to nearby shops, restaurants, and other amenities, including clean and well maintained 24/7 restrooms large enough to accommodate extra traffic from EV owners.
- Charging infrastructure should be distributed widely and early investments especially should be placed strategically to ensure that all communities have equal access. Prioritizing planned corridors for early investments should be balanced with clear plans designed to meet the needs of underserved communities in both urban and rural settings.
- Public dollars should only go to infrastructure providers whose networks can cooperate and be accessible to other companies’ networks, ideally those whose networks use the “Open Charge Point Protocol” standards.
- Open payment systems should be required so that a consumer can use a common credit card reader that accepts all payment cards, an agreement to accept another company’s payment card, or a similar solution.
- Charging costs at public stations should be reasonable, transparent, and available in per kWh terms.
- Charging companies and systems should be required to share real-time information about the location of chargers, their availability, and price terms. The public should be able to access this information easily and conveniently.
- Charging station uptime and reliability are critical to the success of the network and should be incentivized. Reliability targets should be set to a high but achievable level, based on what the top performing charging providers, including Tesla, have achieved in the past.
- Charging infrastructure deployment plans should support the use of distributed solar, energy efficiency, and other non-wires alternatives such as battery storage co-located with EV charging infrastructure to minimize overall costs and reduce system-wide burdens from increased electricity demand.
- INDOT and other regulators (including the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission) should ensure that federal dollars be utilized for EV charger-related power grid upgrades rather than allowing utilities to raise electricity rates on general customers for these purposes.
Thank you again for the opportunity to provide public input into this critical process for planning Indiana’s transportation future. We look forward to further participation in the public input process as appropriate.
| Zach Schalk
Indiana Program Director
Solar United Neighbors
Hoosier Electric Vehicle Association
Join Hoosier EVA members to celebrate Earth Day and to commemorate the installation of 465 level 2 charging stations around the Indianapolis downtown area in 2015!
The 2021 Drive Electric Earth Day Indianapolis event will include a parade around Monument Circle and opportunities to (safely) connect with other EV enthusiasts and interested community members. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will not be providing any car rides and will ask for all attendees to wear a mask and maintain a safe distance. This event will take the place of our regular April meetup.
Day: Saturday, April 24, 2021
Time: 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Location: Monument Circle (1 Monument Circle, Indianapolis, IN 46204)
Parade around Monument Circle at noon, followed by opportunities for safe socializing
Don’t let BlueIndy EV charging infrastructure go to waste
The clean electric vehicle (EV) revolution is underway across the country. In 2019, Indianapolis recognized that the transition to EVs is essential to the city’s transportation vision when it adopted a plan to triple EV ownership by 2025 (from the 2017 baseline of 760 vehicles). The BlueIndy EV charging network offers a key component to meeting this goal in an equitable manner by providing public, affordable EV charging in easily accessible locations around the city.
But now, city officials are considering a proposal to remove the charging stations and convert the spaces back to street parking spots.
The taxpayer-funded charging stations and the associated infrastructure throughout Indianapolis are a valuable resource that the city should build upon as a key part of our transportation future. As EVs become more common and parking around key destinations becomes more scarce, EV chargers will help to stimulate economic activity by encouraging more people, businesses, and institutions to purchase EVs, and by supporting EV owners from in and around Indianapolis to park, charge, and frequent nearby businesses.
Instead of squandering tax-payer investments in our transportation infrastructure, we call on city leaders to:
- Preserve at least 50 charging locations with at least 3 chargers available at each location.
- Upgrade the level 2 charging hardware at each location and pursue options for ensuring maintenance and upkeep of the upgraded chargers.
- Make EV charging at all locations free at the point of service for all drivers so that EV charging will be available in an equitable manner.
- Obtain funding for charging infrastructure improvements from the Indiana Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Program RFP.
- Develop an “Adopt-a-Charger” program to build partnerships with local businesses who will benefit from Level 2 EV chargers located near their place of business.
Indianapolis should be building an affordable, sustainable, and equitable transportation policy, which must include EVs. We cannot let the past investments in the BlueIndy charging infrastructure go to waste.