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State seeks public comment on EV stations as Tesla chargers are accounted for

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Marco Verch
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Tesla stations are now accounted for as the state plan looks for public comment.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) has opened their newest electric car charger plan for public comment.

The Biden Administration through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program (NEVI), allocated around $23 million to build more electric car chargers in Wyoming over the next couple years. Now WYDOT has a plan for suggested charger locations.

Luke Reiner, WYDOT director, said the plan includes publicly available Tesla stations, a detail unincluded in previous discussions of where to put new electric car chargers in Wyoming.

“Because there are 11 Tesla stations across this state. That's fast charging stations, and nine on the interstates are nine on the corridors and two off,” he said.

Fast charging stations can charge electric vehicles in around thirty minutes.

Federal money is supposed to be used to build chargers around the interstates and then into more remote parts of Wyoming but according to Reiner there are issues with federal stipulations requiring chargers to be installed every 50 miles.

He said that’s impossible in some parts of the state.

“We just made the decision that says, ’You know what, it just doesn't make sense to put in a full NEVI station in between are some of these communities that are greater than 50 miles’,” he said. “I always feel like using Gillette and Buffalo as an example, because it's 70 miles, and there's really nothing in there.”

Tesla stations can now be a part of the every 50 mile rule to better flesh out charging stations in rural areas. Originally, NEVI funds were primarily going to corridors, or parts of the interstate. But the state’s plan includes a waiver to exclude some sections of Wyoming highways. After this public comment, the plan will go to the federal government for approval.

Reiner said if all goes well new electric chargers could be installed by Fall 2023. The public comment period is open until July 27.

Taylar Dawn Stagner is a central Wyoming rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has degrees in American Studies, a discipline that interrogates the history and culture of America. She was a Native American Journalist Association Fellow in 2019, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her Modern West podcast episode about drag queens in rural spaces in 2021. Stagner is Arapaho and Shoshone.
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