Pennsylvania prepares highways for electric cars with fast-charging stations

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Right now, longer travel on PA interstates is more difficult for electric cars -- but grant money is hoping to change that

(WKBN) – Pennsylvania is working to make its highways more accessible to electric cars for longer travel.

Right now, longer travel on PA interstates is more difficult for electric cars.

The Department of Environmental Protection has an open grant program so organizations can apply for money to install fast chargers. The DEP is awarding almost $1 million in grant money.

This money will be used to install 16 more fast chargers spread across four projects in high-traffic areas.

The U.S. Department of Transportation determines which areas are already ready for electric vehicles and which are still waiting for more charging stations.

In order to move from “pending” to “ready,” chargers must meet certain qualifications.

“For electric vehicles, they made the determination that charging should be easy, fast charging, should be within 50 miles along the corridor for it to be considered ready for electric vehicle travel along that interstate highway. And that the charging must be publicly accessible and no more than five miles from an exit to count,” said Colton Brown, energy program specialist.

Those new chargers will be installed in Philadelphia, Bucks County, Delaware County and Allegheny County.

Currently, interstates 79 and 80, which run through Mercer and Lawrence counties, are not designated as ready for electric vehicles by the U.S. Department of Transportation. But this grant program could be an excellent opportunity for businesses to become charging stations.

“They have tremendous environmental benefits, ability to improve air quality, improve people’s lives. In addition to that, they make more sense economically. They’re cheaper to operate, they’re cheaper to maintain and as battery technology gets better…they’ll even be cheaper to buy. So for many reasons, they’re definitely the way of the future,” Brown said.

The approved projects are expected to prevent 771 tons of carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere each year.

The DEP is currently accepting grant proposals for electric vehicle plugs. The deadline is Friday and if you haven’t started the grant already, then it probably won’t be ready in time. There will be another round in the spring.

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