by Erik Gunn, Wisconsin Examiner
May 23, 2024

More than four dozen businesses will share in $23.3 million in federal grants to start building the first batch of new electric vehicle charging stations across Wisconsin, the state Department of Transportation announced Thursday.

The grants total a little less than one-third of the $78 million that will be coming to Wisconsin over the next five years under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program and enabled under two pieces of legislation Wisconsin enacted earlier this year.

NEVI was created as part of the federal 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It requires charging stations to be installed every 50 miles along a state’s designated alternative fuel corridor. Wisconsin’s corridor includes interstate highways as well as other major highways that traverse the state.  

Applications for the program were accepted from a total of 53 businesses — gas station convenience stores, hotels and an assortment of other businesses. More than 260 applications were submitted, according to the Wisconsin DOT.

The operators are scattered throughout the state. Recipients are required to match the grant money with private investments equal to 20% or more of the total cost of a project. The outside funding for the 53 projects will total $10.5 million, according to the DOT.

One company, the service station convenience store chain Kwik Trip, accounts for nearly half of the winning EV charging station sites in the first round. Two tribal nations are also among the recipients.

According to the DOT there are now more than 23,000 electric vehicles registered in Wisconsin. The International Energy Agency, an intergovernmental organization with more than 30 member countries, forecasts a 20% increase in electric car sales in the U.S. this year — about 500,000 vehicles, or one out of nine sold.

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William G Laine (not verified)

I bought a Chevrolet Bolt EV last August, after GM had decreased the price nearly $10,000 during 2022-23.  It was still much more expensive than the Honda Fit, which I traded in, but the average price of a new car being about $46,000, my new Bolt was about $12,000 cheaper.  I bought it because of the climate crisis, just as I bought an electric lawnmower, the gasoline versions polluting during one use as much as an automobile driven 250 miles.

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