CROSS LANES, W.Va. — Members of the public are learning about the state’s plan to implement charging stations for electric vehicles.

The first of three public meetings in West Virginia was held in Kanawha County at the Cross Lanes Library Tuesday. There, DOH officials with the state Department of Transportation detailed the West Virginia National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVl) plan. The NEVI plan is required in order for the state to access federal funding for the deployment of the EV charging stations.

Back in 2022, the West Virginia Legislature passed House Bill 4797, which ordered the West Virginia Department of Transportation to create a plan for electric vehicle infrastructure development in the state.

Phase One of the plan includes constructing 15 charging stations no more than 50 miles apart on the major roads that run through the state.

Chief Economic Development Officer with the state Department of Transportation’s Division of Highways Perry Keller said they want to utilize Interstates 64, 70, 77, 79 and 81 for the placement of the EV charging stations.

“They can’t be greater than 50 miles apart on your electric alternative fuel corridor which we’ve designated as our interstate system,” Keller said.

The chargers also have certain requirements. Keller said stations must include four ports with 150 kilowatts per port for 600 total kilowatts for charging.

Phase One is primarily for drivers making their way through the state from neighboring states. The completion of Phase One then brings Phase Two.

Keller expects West Virginians will mostly focus on Phase Two which is the expansion of charging stations into more community-based settings. Phase Two would open up the possibility of placement at universities and state parks across the state.

“We can cover a lot more of the state and I think that’s what most people are looking to,” said Keller.

West Virginia ranks towards the bottom when it comes to EV use, but Keller believes the NEVI plan can improve on that.

“We’re on the lower side for states,” Perry said about West Virginians driving electric vehicles. “I think a lot of folks are anxious to see the program start though.”

The remaining public meetings are scheduled for Wednesday, February 28, at the Marilla Park Center in Morgantown; and 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, February 29, at the Shepherdstown Library.