Idaho updates NEVI plan

Phase 2 narrows down some fast-charger locations
Posted at 11:55 AM, Nov 27, 2023

BOISE, IDAHO — Is now a good time to buy an electric vehicle? We talked with a member of the team making it easier for EVs to travel long distances here in the Gem State to find out.

The National Eletric Vehicle Infrastructure program, or NEVI, is a program that every state is now a part of. In Idaho, it's an interagency working group program that consists of the Idaho Office of Energy and Mineral Resources, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, and the Idaho Transportation Department.

"Federal formula funding that each state is getting, so Idaho, we're receiving just under $30 million to install direct current fast-charging stations along Idaho's major travel corridors," said Idaho Office of Energy and Mineral Resources Energy Program Manager Emily Her.

Phase One of Idaho's NEVI plan has been completed, which included the public's involvement in finding out where fast-charging stations for electric vehicles might be preferred.

We're now in Phase Two. "We're currently in the middle of a siting, feasibility, and access study to help us identify and prioritize where our charging stations are going to go, so we're analyzing hundreds of sites across Idaho," said Her.

And we're further into Phase Two than we might have expected with a recent major announcement.

"The last component of Phase Two is our first round of solicitations and we've announced where we're going to release our request for applications. That's going to be Lewiston, Bliss, and Pocatello," stated Her.

That means that in those three cities, the State of Idaho will soon begin looking for investors who want to build fast-charging stations close to major highways in that area. Think of them as gas stations for electric vehicles.

"These stations have to have four ports. Each port has to be able to provide 150 kilowatts of power to the EV. Like I said, these stations need to be built within a mile of an exit," said Her.

For now, there's a good chance that current electric vehicle owners don't commute very far.

"A lot of EV drivers get their charging needs met through just plugging in at home at the end of the day, and the next day, they leave their house with the equivalent of a full tank," said Her.

But when Idaho's NEVI program is completed?

"We're installing these charging stations every 50 miles along our major travel corridors and that's to give drivers the confidence they need to drive long distances," said Her.

The roads in Idaho could get a lot quieter with the soft buzz of several newly purchased electric vehicles.