MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — More electric vehicle chargers will be popping up all over the state as more than $2.45 million in grant funding from the governor is distributed to cities.
The Montgomery Regional Airport is one of those locations. It’s getting $250,000 to install a three-bay charging station. Seventeen other locations will also be getting chargers, including the city of Fairhope.
“We’re real excited to add to our electric vehicle charging stations,” Fairhope Mayor Sherry Sullivan said.
Sullivan says the city already has some downtown, and she hopes the new location on Highway 98 draws even more people to the area.
“It’s convenient to restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, so we feel like that’s a good location. People can stay, they can charge, they can eat, they can go to the grocery store, they can get a sub sandwich, there’s some shopping nearby, too, so it’s great for the economy but also great for the people coming through,” Sullivan said.
The state legislature appropriated nearly all the project funding for the 18 grants, which, in addition to Montgomery and Fairhope, are going to locations in Scottsboro, Hartselle, Guntersville, Decatur, Guin, Helena, Sylacauga, Alexander City, two in Phenix City, LaFayette, Orange Beach, Enterprise, Headland, Robertsdale and Geneva.
Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition Executive Director Mark Bentley says he thinks the move will boost the economy and help EV auto manufacturers in the state.
“It is huge because this just augments what we’ve been working so hard on with many partners around the state to put in electric vehicle charging equipment to satisfy the needs of the consumer,” Bentley said.
Alabama currently ranks 41st nationally for EV infrastructure and 33rd for EV financial incentives.
While buyers can receive a $7,500 federal tax credit, Alabama currently doesn’t have any financial incentives and charges a $200 annual registration fee.
But it is a growing industry. According to the state’s infrastructure plan, in 2021, Alabama saw a 61% increase in the number of EVs registered in the state, and that number is expected to grow.
Should that number grow significantly, there are some concerns with how to make up for the lost gas tax revenue from EV drivers, as well as whether the state’s power grid could handle it.
Alabama Power said in a statement the company estimates it could see between 80,000 to 201,000 Battery Electric Vehicles and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles within their service territory by 2030, going on to say:
“Alabama Power is prepared to meet our customers’ evolving energy needs, including additional demand for powering electric vehicles, while maintaining grid readiness and dependability.”
Bentley says the installation of the new chargers will likely take between six to 12 months depending on availability of parts.