N.H. rolls out latest attempt to get EV chargers on its highways

By DAVID BROOKS

Monitor staff

Published: 10-17-2023 5:17 PM

Developers who want to build fast-charging stations for electric vehicles along interstate highways and Route 202 are being invited to submit plans as part of New Hampshire’s belated efforts to join the EV bandwagon.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation is releasing a Request for Proposals as part of the first phase of the plan for electric vehicle infrastructure deployment. New Hampshire will get more than $17 million over five years as part of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure, designed to put half a million new charging stations along major travel routes across the country.

Under Phase 1, EV stations would be built along Interstate 89, Interstate 93 and U.S. Route 202/NH 9 as well as NH 16 along the Maine border. The chosen vendors will be responsible for installing new direct-current (DC) fast-charging stations, along with five years of operation and maintenance. 

Such stations are increasingly seen as important for attracting tourists as the number of electric vehicles increases. They are less important for local EV owners, most of whom can charge their vehicles at home. 

Compared to the rest of New England, New Hampshire isn’t too far behind when it comes to fast-charging public stations, which can replenish a car battery in as little as 15 minutes. The state has more fast chargers than Rhode Island or Vermont, although less than the national median and less than Maine, Massachusetts or Connecticut, according to the site EVadoption. This is thanks mostly to charging stations built by Tesla to spur sales of its cars.

The Granite State is lagging badly when it comes to the next step down, public Level 2 chargers, which recharge cars in a few hours. These are often installed at workplaces, stores and restaurants. EVadoption says New Hampshire has just 211 of them, about half the number in Maine, one-third the number in Vermont and less than one-tenth the number in Massachusetts.   

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New Hampshire has previously sought developers to build public stations using money from the Volkswagen “dieselgate” program but little has come of it.

Proposals will be accepted until 2 p.m. on Friday, December 15, 2023. Bid details are available here.