OPINION | DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Electric vehicle plans available at Arkansas Department of Transportation site

Way back when -- August -- this column discussed the matter of electric vehicles. Some skepticism was displayed.

We especially got a frowny face over the federal government giving $54 million to the Arkansas Department of Transportation to build EV chargers every 50 miles or so along Arkansas interstates.

And that Arkansas has 3,064 fully electric vehicles registered with the Department of Finance & Administration. Out of about 2,725,000 registered vehicles. Yeah, yeah, the charging stations are supposed to primarily be for interstate travelers.

There was a promise to to update the matter. To that end, here are a series of questions posed to and answers from Brad McCaleb, division head of transportation planning and policy for the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

Where is ArDOT in the planning? ArDOT submitted its year one plan to the federal Joint Office of Energy and Transportation on July 29. The plan is under review, and it is expected to be approved by the end of this month.

How about a start time? Construction of charging stations should begin in 2024.

How many interstate miles has Arkansas, and at 50 miles roughly per, how many charging stations are anticipated? Arkansas has 770 interstate miles. ArDOT's analysis yields a minimum of at least 15 charging sites needed to meet guidelines of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program.

What factors go into selecting locations? ArDOT will provide applicants with information on gaps in the NEVI charging network. ArDot will rely on applicants to select specific locations to install the charging stations as part of the competitive procurement process. Some factors for site selection include being within one mile of the interstate, access to the power grid, ability to allow public access 24/7, and ability to provide amenities.

How many chargers at each station? A minimum of four.

What will be the power of these chargers? The NEVI Formula Program requires four 150-kilowatt DC fast chargers capable of delivering a combined minimum of 600 kilowatts at each site.

What will be the cost to ArDot for the power? There will not be any cost to ArDOT. The charging station owner-operator will be responsible for the cost of the electricity.

What will be the cost to the driver for the power? The cost to the driver will be set by the owner-operator.

What else do the ADG's intrigued motorists need to know? All current information and the year one plan can be found on ardot.gov/evplan. Anyone interested in staying up to date may subscribe to the email list on the website.

Folks, we have read the FAQ and fact sheet on this website. Slightly bewildering, they are, to those of us not electrical engineers.

We also have subscribed to that email list. As is said in the newsroom, MTK -- more to come.