New Mexico submitted its plan to spend $38 million of federal money on a statewide network of electrical vehicle chargers, planning to initially focus on urban centers where use of the vehicles is higher and then branching out to rural areas.
The funds were allocated through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden last year and include the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program that saw states applying for funds to increase electric vehicle use.
The federal government’s goal is to have 500,000 chargers installed by 2030.
In New Mexico, that means about 20 new stations will be built along interstate corridors and existing stations will be upgraded to Level 3 chargers that can fully charge a vehicle in about 30 to 45 minutes for less than $20, per a report from the Office of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Chargers would be up to 50 miles apart, and within one mile of the interstate, per the State’s plan.
New Mexico has three interstate highways: I-25 running north-south between Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Las Cruces, I-40 running from New Mexico’s Western border to Arizona through Albuquerque to the eastern border with Texas, and I-10 between Las Cruces and Arizona.
The interstate work was planned to be complete by 2024, per the State’s plan, with the remaining dollars used by 2026.
Remaining funds will be used to add charging stations to rural parts of the state like the southeast corner where there are no interstate roads.
Per the plan, charges would be installed along U.S. Highway 285 between Carlsbad and Roswell, -one of the most-traveled non-interstate roadways with more than 10,000 vehicles per day – along multiple roadways in the northwest region near Farmington and around rural communities near Los Alamos and Santa Fe.
U.S. 285 between Carlsbad and New Mexico’s southern border to Texas was also known as a “critical rural freight corridor” as it sees heavy oil and gas traffic to and from the Permian Basin oilfields.
The state listed “unverified, planned or future sites” for chargers in Carlsbad, Artesia, Roswell and Hobbs in the southeast region that could be upgraded to comply with the federal program, with others in Farmington, around the eastern plains in Clovis and Portales and around major cities.
The federal dollars will combine with $10 million appropriated by the New Mexico Legislature. Those funds were received via the American Rescue Plan Act last December during a special legislative session.
The first charger built using the money was announced in Socorro along I-25 earlier this month.
Lujan Grisham said New Mexico was the first state in the nation to submit its electric vehicle infrastructure plan to the federal government, a required step to receive the funding over the next five years.
In the first year, the State expected to get about $5.6 million for the project.
“Whether it’s a trip across town or across the state, we are using every available tool to ensure that everyone in New Mexico can benefit from electric vehicles,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement.
“Building a comprehensive network of EV charging stations throughout the state will not only reduce our greenhouse gas emissions caused by transportation – and their effects in frontline communities – but also open cities and towns across New Mexico for additional tourism, attracting new visitors and putting more money into local economies.”
The market for electric vehicles (EV) was set to rise in the coming years, as global energy analytics firm Enverus reported the infrastructure needed to support the vehicles was crucial to the sector’s growth.
EV chargers were not likely to impact to power grids until 2035, read the report, while residential charging could help improve their efficiency as charging networks are built.
“It is unlikely for EV charging to become problematic to the existing grid infrastructure in the near future. However, residential charging policies will be crucial to defer infrastructure upgrades,” said Ryan Luther, Enverus senior vice president of research who wrote the report.
“Proper EV charging policy implementation could hinder wind generation curtailment and reduce the need for energy storage.”
Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-628-5516, [email protected] or @AdrianHedden on Twitter.