Ohio Pilot Travel Center Marks a Milestone Under Federal EV Program

The Columbus-area station will be equipped with fast chargers installed by EVgo.
Angela Hanson
Senior Editor
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EVgo charging station

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio is officially the first state in the country to break ground on an electric vehicle (EV) charging station being funded and constructed as part of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program.

Located at a Pilot Travel Center on I-70 at U.S. Route 42, west of Columbus, the station will be equipped with fast chargers installed by EVgo.

The chargers will be capable of providing up to 350 kW when charging a single vehicle. When four vehicles are charging simultaneously, each port will receive up to 175 kW, or enough power to charge an EV up to 80 percent in 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the vehicle's battery.

[Read more: C-stores Have Opportunity to Fill EV Charging Infrastructure Gaps]

This milestone is the latest in a series of major EV advancements made by the state of Ohio in recent years, according to the office of Governor Mike DeWine. Ohio was the first state to release a request for charging station proposals in 2022, which was a strategic move to put it ahead of other states for sought-after equipment and specialized technicians, as well as the first state to announce the future sites of its first round of EV charging stations.

"Ohio continues to lead in this rising sector," said Gov. DeWine. "From securing investments by manufacturers to building key infrastructure, we are truly positioning Ohioans for the electric future. This groundbreaking further demonstrates the state's commitment to installing chargers as quickly as possible for the benefit of Ohio drivers."

Once the charging station is completed, customers will have 24/7 access to food, beverages, bathrooms, Wi-Fi and convenience items for purchase inside the Pilot location. Additionally, an overhead canopy above the station will shield drivers from inclement weather, as with standard gas pumps.

"When we talked with electric vehicle drivers throughout our public engagement process, we heard that user experience is key," said DriveOhio Executive Director Preeti Choudhary. "It's not enough to just add chargers at the required increments — recognizing that drivers will spend a bit of time at these locations, we need to ensure users feel safe and comfortable while charging their vehicles."

Construction is expected to begin soon on an additional two dozen-plus fast charging stations funded by NEVI across Ohio. All chargers installed as part of the first round are anticipated to be operational by the end of 2024.

"As more Ohioans adopt electric vehicles and the mix of automobiles on the road changes, we must ensure that our infrastructure is ready," said Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Jack Marchbanks. "Providing more fast chargers that are convenient and reliable ultimately improves customer service for Ohio drivers and bolsters equitable access to the latest transportation technology."

Ohio's second round of charging infrastructure will include 25 more locations along interstates, U.S. routes and state routes. ODOT expects to solicit proposals from companies to build the next round of stations in the coming months. In total, Ohio will receive $140 million in NEVI funds over the next five years to support the installation of EV charging stations across the state.

Separate from the NEVI program, Ohio will incorporate EVs into its state-owned vehicle fleet, according to ODOT. The Ohio Department of Administrative Services plans to install six EV charging stations at three state-owned office buildings to support expanded fleet options.