Johnson County Adds Electric Vehicle Charging Stations


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Iowa City is nearing its charging station target outlined in the Eastern Iowa Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan. The plan is to increase the infrastructure of electric vehicles to account for the increasing adoption rates in the city.


Iowa City is approaching its goal of electric vehicle charging stations in the Eastern Iowa Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan.

The Eastern Iowa Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan, finalized in June 2021, indicates that the areas with the highest electric vehicle adoption rates were the areas that had at least 450 public charging points per million inhabitants.

According to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, Iowa City currently has 386 charging points per million inhabitants. Climate action engagement specialist Sarah Gardner said the city is working to establish the 450 charging points per million population needed to support the rate of electric vehicle adoption in Iowa City.

According to Department of Transportation reports, the number of electric vehicles registered in Johnson County has increased from 587 vehicles in 2020 to 692 in 2021.

“The data clearly indicates that the adoption of electric vehicles is accelerating, and I think it is accelerating in a way that even five years ago people might not have anticipated,” Gardner said.

The Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan was created in collaboration between Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Davenport, Waterloo and Cedar Falls. The purpose of the plan was to create a guide for each city to expand the infrastructure of electric vehicles like charging stations, Gardner said.

“We recognize that when people have vehicles, they don’t just want to drive in the city they live in, they want to be able to get to other places,” Gardner said. “We wanted to make sure that someone who owns an electric vehicle in this region can travel with confidence throughout our region. “

Electric vehicle adoption rates are not only increasing in eastern Iowa, they are increasing statewide, said MK Anderson, clean cities coordinator for the Iowa Clean Cities Coalition.

“When I started this position in 2018, there was only one DC fast charger in Iowa, and now there are 40 in operation,” Anderson said.

Rising adoption rates for electric cars aren’t the only reason cities should start expanding their automotive infrastructure, Anderson said.

“All of the major automakers have announced that they will only be producing electric vehicles within the next decade,” she said. “We’re going to have to be able to refuel these vehicles. “

Funding for the expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure, like charging stations, is the responsibility of each city, Gardner said. For example, in Iowa City, charging stations in public parking lots are funded by parking revenues, she said.

RELATED: New charging stations for electric vehicles open at the Court Street Transportation Center in Iowa City

There are state-level funding options, Anderson said. One way to fund these projects is to apply for a zero-interest loan from the Iowa Energy Office, which funds alternative fuel infrastructure projects, she said.

President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill, if passed, will also provide state-specific funding to expand electric vehicle infrastructure, Anderson added.

“This would provide, frankly, unprecedented funding opportunities for alternative fuel vehicles and electric vehicle deployment and infrastructure development,” Anderson said.

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