Feds give money to ND to build more electric vehicle charging stations

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BISMARCK, ND (KFYR) — North Dakota has received nearly $1.5 million from the federal government to make the state more accessible to electric vehicles.

It could be easier to charge electric vehicles in North Dakota thanks to a $1.44 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The money will be used to install charging stations every 50 miles along I-94 and I-29.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation says it’s too early in the design process to know when they will be built, who will maintain them and who will collect the money when the vehicles are refueled.

“We’re looking at all the options right now, and we don’t have a firm answer on that at the moment. We really don’t, that’s one of the things during the implementation that we will definitely have to understand and we’re still working out some of those details,” said Jen Turnbow, assistant director of planning at the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

A big objection to electric vehicles is their performance in the harsh North Dakota winter. But some owners say car batteries were designed with this in mind.

“Battery architecture can be designed to handle all necessary temperatures and battery management systems, especially in Teslas, always actively manage the battery to ensure everything is functional and ready to go at all times” , Brian Kopp, who has owned an electric vehicle for eight years and as many winters.

Kopp says the batteries that power his Tesla will operate in temperatures from -35 degrees to 120 degrees.

Turnbow says the federal money given to them doesn’t have an expiration date, but as a department they hope to start adding 18 to 20 more charging stations over the next five years. North Dakota will receive an additional $25.9 million under the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in November 2021, which will pay for much of the 18 to 20 charging stations they plan to build.

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