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TxDOT Announces Texas Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan

AUSTIN, TX — The Statewide Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Plan for Texas is a multi-year plan to enable current and future drivers of electric vehicles to confidently travel across the state for work, recreation, and exploration. One measure of success of the plan for Electric Alternative Fuel Corridors will be how well it meets Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) requirements of 50-mile spacing for DC Fast Chargers, one mile from the interstate exit, rated at 150kW or greater.

The same power and minimum port requirements will be applied to stations at or near county seats but since most county seats are not on the Alternative Fuel Corridors, the minimum spacing requirements do not apply. Spacing off the corridors could be slightly greater (70 miles) in rural counties due to distances between population centers and electrical supply lines in west Texas. Large urban areas will utilize a combination of DC and Level II charging across their respective areas. The mix and location of chargers will be determined based on equipment cost, access to power, community identified needs, and how long a vehicle is parked.

General Execution of the Plan
  • Expand Electric Alternative Fuel Corridors to include almost all non-business interstate routes.
  • Work with the private sector to install DC Fast Charge stations along Electric Alternative Fuel Corridors according to FHWA requirements. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will not own or operate the charging equipment.
  • Work with Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to identify suitable locations to install a combination of Level II and DC Fast Charging infrastructure inside large urban areas. Work with rural counties and small urban areas to install DC Fast Charge stations at or near county seats across the state.
  • Collect data from the network to assess usage and identify trends for future development.


High-Level Goals of the EV Charging Network


Redundancy
The density, distribution, and power of the EV network outlined in this plan is targeted to support 1 million electric vehicles when built out. DC Fast Charging stations will be 50 miles apart on the Electric Alternative Fuel Corridors and usually 70 miles apart anywhere else in the state. Drivers will have multiple options for EV charging along their intended travel route. Each location will have at least four ports with pull through spaces for passenger vehicles pulling trailers or recreational vehicles. When drivers arrive at a location with four or more ports, it is likely a stall will be available even if several ports are occupied, down for maintenance, or otherwise unavailable. Locations will be discoverable online at the US Department of Energy Alternative Fuel Data Center and various third-party applications.

Adequate Power
Each individual charging connector on the Alternative Fuel Corridors will be rated to deliver at least 150kW of power to the vehicle (four-port installations would require 600kW per location and scale up proportionally from there). In some cases, the maximum power provided could be higher if supply and costs for that power are not excessively high. In most cases 150kW power can recharge a vehicle from 10 percent to 80 percent in about 30 minutes. Charging speeds will vary by manufacturer, equipment installed on the vehicle, and battery characteristics like age and temperature.

Pull-Through Capability
Each DC Fast Charge station on the Alternative Fuel Corridors or near county seats can have at least one pull-through space for light duty vehicles pulling trailers or RV campers when space is available at the host location. Locations will not include spaces for heavy duty freight trucks or trailers. Freight charging will be addressed pending guidance from FHWA in the fall of 2022. Light duty panel trucks or delivery vans could utilize pull through spaces if they can safely navigate the location.

Standardization
Per FHWA requirements for DC Fast Charge stations on Alternative Fuel Corridors, a minimum of four CCS ports will be available at each location. Stations at or near county seats are expected to have a minimum of four CCS ports, but conditions in the area will ultimately determine the number of ports and power levels. Cable length should accommodate vehicles with charge ports in various vehicle locations. Stations will have adequate lighting, signage, and instructions for station usage and reporting inoperable stations.

Charging Network Timeline


Year One will focus on building out the Electric Alternative Fuel Corridors to meet FHWA guidance. This will include rapid re-evaluation of the network to assess private sector development outside the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program. Approximately 55 new locations will be needed to satisfy the 50-mile maximum spacing requirements from FHWA. The 55 new locations will complement 27 existing locations installed by the private sector and 26 planned locations resulting from VW settlement grants that meet FHWA requirements.

Year Two (or after Electric Alt Fuel Corridors are completed) will focus on rural counties, small urban areas, and MPOs. TxDOT will utilize a modified formula from its Unified Transportation Program to estimate funds for EV Charging inside MPOs (not shown on the map). Large urban areas will require a combination of Level II charging and DC Fast Charging dependent on the time a vehicle is parked at a location. Ultimately, placement decisions and power ratings will be proposed by the MPOs and consistent with FHWA requirements.

In rural areas, the focus will be installing DC Fast Charging stations at or near county seats. County seats are usually centrally located in the county (all roads lead to the county courthouse) and provide good spacing between urban clusters in rural areas. Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) was used to establish a priority list of most traveled non-interstate routes through rural areas. Installing DC Fast Charge stations at county seats with a power rating of 150kW and minimum four ports will fill gaps across rural Texas for off-interstate travelers and enable local farm and work trucks to access the charging network.

Year Three and beyond will continue the work of building out charging infrastructure inside rural counties, small urban areas, and MPOs. Statewide coverage will improve, and the network will progress into more rural areas of the state. As the charging network spreads to more rural areas, the equipment installed may adjust to accommodate varying power supply in the region. A combination of solar/battery equipment may be placed between the charging equipment and the power grid to minimize demand charges and ensure adequate power for four ports rated at 150kW per connector.

Contracting


TxDOT will contract with private sector entities on a competitive basis to develop EV charging stations across the state. A solicitation with standards and expectations will be developed to collect, evaluate, and award contracts. Contracting language will include all federal requirements and guidelines.

Each selected vendor will work to identify specific installation sites within TxDOT identified EV Study Areas and work with property owners, utilities, and municipalities to complete the installation. The vendor will be responsible for all federal requirements and guidelines and working with TxDOT on environmental clearance. It is anticipated that EV Study Areas could shift/expand during the siting process to better meet FHWA requirements.
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