INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana government is preparing to spend millions of dollars to build electric vehicle infrastructure.
However, concerns have been raised about the ability of the existing power grid to support an influx of electric vehicles or EVs.
Mark Potuck, a self-proclaimed die-hard Tesla fanatic, and his wife bought their current electric car three years ago. He can hardly wait for the delivery of his new one. “We’ve waited a long time. We ordered it in October I think and it’s not expected until the end of July or even September 2nd.”
Potluck added, “We took it for a test drive on Thanksgiving the 18th and oh my god we just fell in love with it.”
The Potucks are native to northern Indiana. They had stopped at a charging station near Beech Grove on their way to Tennessee. He says the car maps the route using charging stations.
In recent months, charging stations in central Indiana have become a common sight. Tesla recently installed a fast-charging station at a gas station on the west side, which draws a steady stream of customers. The site has a new power supply to provide the electricity.
Earlier this summer, I-Team surveyed 8 energy companies about their ability to provide power during peak demand. Now, I-Team 8 asked AES Indiana’s Zac Elliot if the utility is ready for EVs.
“I think there’s a common misconception that all electric vehicles when they plug into the grid are stimulatingly charged, and we don’t think that’s true. The odds of that happening are almost zero,” Elliot said.
He says as the need for additional charging stations grows, electric companies are expanding their service. For example, when IndyGo ordered electric buses, the existing electric service was expanded to meet demand.
“We do not anticipate or forecast any near-term impact on reliability, but we continue to forecast load growth and to the extent that we anticipate reliability issues in the future, we would make the necessary investments to ensure continued reliability,” said Elliot.
Upgrades to electric service are chargeable.
The Bob Rohrman Indy Hyundai dealership on the east side is in the process of installing charging stations to meet automaker specifications. They are asked to install a 480 volt supply in their building, which is typical of industrial plants and not car dealerships
“We have to install a new transformer. The infrastructure alone is going to cost about 300 grand, with the high power chargers, the fast chargers, the Level 3s, we’re going to spend close to half a million dollars,” said General Manager Joe Gerry.
The Indiana Department of Transportation is directed to meet the requirements of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program. INDOT expects to invest $100 million in EV technology over the next five years, which will require electric companies to keep up.
Elliot from AES said: “We’re seeing quite rapid load growth. We’re seeing 50% annual growth in registrations in Indianapolis, and it’s going fast.”
More than a dozen states require a percentage of new cars for sale to be electric; Indiana is not one of those states.