AEP Ohio Plugs Midwest into Nation’s EV Movement
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has approved an American Electric Power (AEP) Ohio electric vehicle (EV) program that will deploy up to 375 charging stations across the Buckeye State over the next four years. This marks the first time regulators in the Midwest have approved such a significant utility investment, an amount of $10 million, to accelerate the EV market.
The program results from a settlement agreement supported by AEP Ohio, PUCO staff, Ohio Energy Group, Ohio Hospital Association, Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition, Environmental Law and Policy Center, Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy, Electric Vehicle Charging Association, Ohio Manufacturers’ Association Energy Group, IGS, Ohio Environmental Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Retail Energy Supply Association, Industrial Energy Users—Ohio, Constellation NewEnergy, Sierra Club, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
Ohio has also proven its commitment to electrification by proposing to allocate more than $11 million (stemming from the Volkswagen emissions-cheating scandal) to help build a charging network for EVs. PUCO has also used its PowerForward proceeding to explore how utilities could play a productive role in the transportation space, but today’s decision marks the first time it has actually approved a utility program designed specifically to grow the EV market.
AEP Ohio’s EV Program
With a budget of $10 million over four years, the AEP Ohio EV program includes the following:
- 300 Level 2 charging stations (i.e. medium-speed chargers) and 75 Direct Current Fast Chargers. This will double the number of fast chargers in the state, allowing more people to fill up their EVs in about the time it takes to grab a bite to eat along the way to their destination, for less than the cost of gasoline. Up to 20 percent of stations will be made available to multi-unit dwellings, and 10 percent will be located in low-income areas.
- $3.7 million for rebates for the purchase and installation of Level 2 charging stations at homes and workplaces.
- A data gathering commitment that requires all installed infrastructure to be networked and demand-response capable. Annually, AEP Ohio will share collected data with signatory parties to allow for adjustments within the program and improve future programs.
The Midwestern EV Movement
The AEP Ohio settlement may be the largest program approved by regulators in the Midwest to-date, but other states are not standing idle. In late February, Ameren Missouri announced its Charge Ahead program, a filing with the Public Service Commission that proposes investing approximately $18 million within the state for 1,200 charging outlets. In Michigan, Consumers Energy announced a filing set for April 30th that promises to provide increased access to EV charging stations across the state. NRDC will continue to work with partners in the ChargeUp Midwest campaign to accelerate transportation electrification, ensuring benefits to consumers and improving equitable access to vehicle charging across the region.
Data and information gleaned from the AEP Ohio pilot program will inform utility pilot proposals across the Midwest and beyond. Increasing access to charging stations should enable a broader, more diverse EV market, help integrate renewable generation, and grow customer awareness to the benefits of driving on a cleaner, cheaper fuel.
With Ohio’s sprint forward, the EV movement takes another important step to accelerate a technology that increasingly bests its gasoline-powered counterparts on total cost of ownership, performance, and overall emissions.