Without any doubt, electric vehicles will grow in presence on Indiana roads.

But anyone who is considering the purchase of one has to wonder where charging stations will be located. How can a driver in Fort Wayne be assured of finding an accessible recharging station when driving nearly 300 miles to Evansville?

Planning for the future of EVs is underway by the Indiana Department of Transportation, which released a deployment plan of nearly 100 pages in late July. The end result is to meet the federal government’s goal of installing a station every 50 miles of interstate highway.

All 50 states have now sent infrastructure plans, a requirement to be in the first round of a $5 billion rollout.

The plan follows a study INDOT co-authored with Purdue University in what is known as the Joint Transportation Research Program.

The report takes into account the nervousness the public feels — called “range anxiety” — when considering a vehicle’s driving range for long-distance trips. Recognizing the anxiety might go a long way toward its remedy.

Researchers found that, as expected, Indiana’s revenue from fuel taxes will decrease significantly when vehicles using electricity instead of fuel hit the highways.

In 2035, according to the projections, about $2.3 billion would be generated in gasoline tax revenue for INDOT if all vehicles were running on gasoline or diesel. The report suggests about $1 billion of that will be lost because of climbing EV use.

In short, EV car owners, who already pay state registration and title fees of $150 might expect fees more than doubling by the year 2035.

As Hoosiers have come to recognize, private efforts to reduce our taxes usually result in government interference where we end up paying the same amount. But someone has to pay for road infrastructure.

The study also looked at EV “charging deserts,” areas that might require significant energy charging spots. Topping the list were traffic-heavy Marion and Hendrick counties. The report names 16 other potential deserts including Boone, Cass and Madison counties.

INDOT created maps for possible charging stations. For example, there are 20 charging locations planned for the entire length of I-69 with one in Madison County at exit 233; Boone County has two on I-65, at exit 130 at Whitestown Parkway and exit 139 at Ind. 39.

If Indiana's deployment plan is approved by the federal government, the state could receive $14.7 million yet this year to begin adding EV charging stations. More money from the $5 billion federal EV infrastructure rollout would come to the Hoosier state over the next four years.

But an increasing share of the financial burden of maintaining charging stations and building new ones and, more importantly, helping pay for Indiana's roads will surely fall on the shoulders of EV owners. Will they pay by miles traveled, by charging time or in some other way?

Even if INDOT has been pushed by the feds to plan for EVs, the reports point to one clear-cut conclusion: As electric vehicles grow in prominence, Indiana will need to be ready to meet nationwide demand.

- The Herald-Bulletin

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