Indiana residents, visitors, and those passing through who own electric vehicles (EVs) have good reason to celebrate, as two new charging stations were recently installed on the 157-mile Indiana Toll Road.
The charging sites were constructed in Rolling Prairie at the Wilbur Shaw and Knute Rockne travel plazas by ITR Concession Company (ITRCC) – the operator of the toll road – alongside South Bend, Indiana-based Martell Electric.
ITRCC said in a press release, “Customers stopping for coffee or a meal will have access to Level 3 Charging, also known as “DC Fast Charging.” The Granger, an Indiana-based corporation added that the stations can recharge compatible vehicles 80 percent in just 30 minutes.
The chargers boast online connectivity and are synced with EVConnect – a cloud platform that enables drivers to use their phones to find charging stations. Drivers also have access to an app that facilitates secure payments, shows charging data, and alerts the user when charging is complete.
ITRCC confirmed that its charging infrastructure is future-focused and that it will be able to install more chargers with “minimal upgrades” as additional EVs hit the road.
“We know electric vehicles travel our road, and we’re happy to give them a place to charge up,” said ITRCC CEO Nic Barr. “As more customers switch to electric, we’ll be ready to deploy more charging infrastructure to our other travel plazas, meeting our customers everywhere they go.”
The company says that it’s even considering electrifying its own vehicle fleet for employees. ITRCC revealed that it purchased a Chevy Bolt EV as part of a pilot program to gauge the feasibility of a more extensive EV launch.
The move by ITRCC comes at a time when America’s renewable energy prospects are as encouraging as ever. In addition to funding the government for the fiscal year 2021 and providing COVID-19 stimulus relief, The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 – passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Trump in late December – also represents a watershed moment in bipartisan support for clean energy initiatives.
The Energy Act of 2020 – represents “the first comprehensive update to our nation’s energy policies in 13 years,” and “prioritizes research, development, and demonstration of next-generation technologies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, industry, and buildings while keeping American energy affordable and globally competitive.” The document notably reinstates the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act – an Environmental Protection Agency program to dial back pollution via diesel engine emissions.
The Energy Act is divided into 11 sections for each directive, some of which include ‘Energy Efficiency,’ ‘Renewable Energy and Storage,’ and ‘Grid Modernization.’ The Grid Modernization title, in-part, “creates programs for research and development into integrating renewable energy and electric vehicles onto the electric grid,” according to the law firm Sidley Austin LLP.
A ‘Department of Energy Innovation’ title emphasizes the integral role this DOE department plays in “promot[ing] and develop[ing] new energy technologies through a number of programs.” It confirms “the creation of a new Office of Technology Transitions to focus on the commercialization of technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants.”
More than $35 billion will go to developing clean energy technologies, primarily through U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) programs, according to Sidley Austin. As The Washington Post reports, $4 billion will go to solar, wind, hydropower, and geothermal research and development, and $2.6 billion will be allotted to the DOE’s sustainable transportation program.
$1.7 Billion will go toward assisting low-income families with in-home renewable energy installation. More than $2.6 billion is appropriated DOE’s Offices of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies, Vehicle Technologies, and Bioenergy Technologies, according to The Post.
Additionally, as the firm notes, “[The legislation] also extends and in some cases expands a number of energy tax incentives that support investments in renewable and clean energy projects. Many of these incentives would have otherwise expired or been reduced at the end of this year.”
“This is perhaps the most significant climate legislation Congress has ever passed,” Grant Carlisle, a senior policy adviser at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told The Post.
Earth-friendly, innovative business pursuits such as the ITRCC’s EV charger installations that will bring plenty of new jobs, coupled with bipartisan sustainability-focused legislation like the Energy Act of 2020, are clear signals of an America committed to leading on issues that will allow our country to transition toward a more sustainable, more prosperous tomorrow.