Electric vehicle charging stations coming soon

Louisiana is getting more electric, as the bipartisan infrastructure law will help states set up more electric vehicle charging stations.
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 9:12 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 30, 2022 at 6:34 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge leaders will build more electric vehicle charging stations, thanks to federal funding.

Louisiana is getting more electric, as the bipartisan infrastructure law will help states set up more electric vehicle charging stations. Louisiana will get $73 million over the next five years.

RELATED: La. receives approval on plan to build out EV charging infrastructure along highways

Electric vehicle owners say it’s just batteries, wheels, and saving money.

“The time I’ve saved, the money I’ve saved, I mean the electricity that I am using to charge at home is not that much,” said Scott McClelland, who owns an electric vehicle.

McClelland says charging up his Tesla adds just a dollar to two to his electric bill. When he takes long trips, powering up at a free charging station like the one near Trader Joe’s and Acme Oyster House helps.

“We can charge it up at home, I mean that’s convenient. I don’t have to go to a gas station unless I need to use the convenience store part of it,” added McClelland.

Brain Mack is in the same boat.

“I chose to get an electric car basically because the price of as was going up, that point in time, I had just came back from overseas and I needed another vehicle. I would love to see more charging stations out here. This one over here by Trader Joe’s, Acme Oyster House parking lot, it gets filled up sometimes, especially during like rush hour traffic. So, there’s always a wait every now and then, if they had more around the city, I think it would benefit the citizens here a lot,” said Mack.

While more drivers consider going green, East Baton Rouge city leaders want to get ahead and expand the electric vehicle industry.

“It can be less expensive when it comes to gas prices. It has less emissions that improves our environment, improves our quality of life and they are becoming more and more popular,” said Mark Armstrong, who is chief communications officer for the EBR’s Mayor’s Office.

Currently, there are a few charging stations around town. Soon more will be built in north Baton Rouge, downtown, around LSU, and along the interstate, particularly in the areas where renters live because they might not have a driveway or a garage to install a charger.

“We are looking at all the ways that we can expand access for everyone for transportation, whether you’re on foot, public transportation, bicycle or an electric vehicle,” added Armstrong.

The mayor’s office has looked into the possibility of charging electric car drivers based on the length of stay in a charging or parking spot. For now, the city’s main focus is making sure people have more options.

The Baton Rouge mayor’s office released the following statement Friday, Sept. 30, announcing the plan:

Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced today the East Baton Rouge Parish Electric Vehicle Strategic Plan, which identifies priorities, recommendations, and next steps for greater EV adoption in the community. The strategic plan includes recommended upgrades to infrastructure and policies that align with the growth of electric vehicles in our region.

Significant funding opportunities are available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which includes $7.5 billion set aside to fund EV charging infrastructure and vehicle purchases. The completion of the East Baton Rouge Parish Electric Vehicle Strategic Plan places City-Parish at a competitive advantage to apply for federal funds.

“This strategy will help make electric vehicles more accessible and sustainable for our community. Supporting EV technology is critical to reducing emissions, improving our air quality and building a more climate resilient community,” said Mayor Broome.

Read the entire Baton Rouge Electric Vehicle Strategic Plan at brla.gov/evplan

Why Create an Electric Vehicle Strategic Plan? (Baton Rouge EV Strategic Plan, Pg 3)

Electric vehicles are becoming more common throughout the country and state, and the City-Parish wants to position itself to be a leader in the region on electric vehicles. Supporting EVs aligns with many of Baton Rouge’s core values and aspirations outlined in its FUTUREBR Comprehensive Plan, including providing new transportation choices, creating a healthy environment, and supporting a thriving economy. It also will help the City-Parish attract and retain talent as more people come to expect EV-supporting infrastructure when deciding where to work and live.

City-Parish Demographics (Baton Rouge EV Strategic Plan, Pg 4)

…In East Baton Rouge Parish, approximately 40 percent of occupied housing units are renter occupied, compared to 33 percent in Louisiana. Because renters have less control over infrastructure upgrades where they live (e.g., installation of EV chargers), it is important to focus on strategies for areas with high concentrations of renter-occupied housing for EV charging infrastructure. Figure 1 (brla.gov/evplan) shows the distribution of renter occupied housing units in East Baton Rouge Parish. High concentrations of renter-occupied housing units are located in downtown Baton Rouge, near the Louisiana State University (LSU) campus, and in north Baton Rouge.

Justice40 (Baton Rouge EV Strategic Plan, Pg 5)

The Justice40 initiative is a federal goal that “40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.” This initiative is being applied to the grants from the IIJA, and therefore it is helpful to understand which areas of City-Parish should be prioritized for additional programs and funding.

The Eight Strategies: (Baton Rouge EV Strategic Plan, Pg 7-16)

1. Expand charging infrastructure at locations owned by City-Parish

2. Encourage and incentivize privately owned charging infrastructure across the City-Parish

3. Support long-term planning around placement of EV charging infrastructure

4. Transition municipal fleet to zero-emission vehicles

5. Update policies and procedures to address electric vehicles in the fleet

6. Develop outreach materials and support events that provide information about EVs

7. Leverage partnerships and programs for monetary or in-kind support of transportation electrification

8. Encourage companies that provide new mobility options to deploy in Baton Rouge

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