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Millions granted to expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Wisconsin

10 Jun 2024 2:24 PM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)
MILWAUKEE —

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation granted millions of federal dollars to expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the state.

WisDOT awarded $23.3 million to 53 locations across the state as a part of the Wisconsin Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program.

"We're very excited that we have some substantial geographic dispersion across the state of Wisconsin, funding projects as far north as Ashland and then throughout the state," said Kaleb Vander Wiele, the transportation electrification project manager for WisDOT. "Currently, there's about 23,000 electric vehicles in our system in the state. This will really reduce some of the anxiety that they may have as they travel the state."

The biggest beneficiary is Kwik Trip. Twenty-four of its gas stations will benefit.

"We're very excited to bridge the gap and increase the amount of locations that we can offer people who drive EVs. Knowing that there's not a lot of options out there, especially off of the I-90, you know, major interstates, the highways. So for people to be able to expand where they can travel within the state and not have to worry that they're going to run out of fuel or their battery is going to die, that's something that we're excited to be able to offer," Ben Leibl, public relations specialist for Kwik Trip said.

The sites include gas stations, hotels and grocery stores in counties as far north as Douglas County and as far south as Kenosha County.

"The main problem with electric vehicles in the state of Wisconsin today is the lack of publicly available charging stations," Vander Wiele said.

The funds will go toward fast charging stations that take 20 to 30 minutes to charge the vehicle. The new charging stations will be installed in two dozen Kwik Trips.

"This is something that, you know, we've been looking forward to," Leibl said, "bring an alternative fuel to our guests with this being in the form of EV fast chargers."

Babar Ansaree drives an EV Hummer pickup. He said more charging stations like the one he used at Festival Foods in Greenfield might help more people buy in to electric vehicles.

"I think it would be awesome. I think the convenience of charging the vehicles would spark the interest and better for emissions and everything throughout. And these cars are fun to drive," Ansaree said.

Gas-powered vehicle drivers WISN 12 News spoke with Friday weren't sold on the need for EV infrastructure.

"I don't think the electric is really something that we need right now," Paul Good said while filling up his truck at a Kwik Trip in Pewaukee.

The Department of Transportation said the EV charging stations could be operational by this fall, with the project continuing into 2025.

Read the full article here.

Wisconsin Public Transportation Association

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