Where can Ohioans charge their electric vehicles?

    An electric vehicle charging station. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

    As sales of electric vehicles have taken off in recent years, owners are faced with the challenge of figuring out where they can charge up.

    In a recent report from Pew Charitable Trusts’ Stateline news service, Ohio fell around the middle of the pack in the number of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, with 1,115 around the Buckeye State. By comparison, neighboring Pennsylvania and Michigan have 1,131 and 1,294, respectively. But Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia all fall below those marks, with 597, 263 and 220 charging stations, respectively.

    “Purchases of electric vehicles are growing at an astronomical rate — an 81% increase from 2017 to 2018, according to the Edison Electric Institute, which tracks electricity use — and nothing indicates the trend will slow dramatically any time soon,” Stateline reported. “But if anything could stunt the growth, it’s the lack of power charging stations in some states.”

    A lack of charging stations creates in EV drivers what’s known as “range anxiety,” which describes the nervousness a driver might feel wondering if they have enough charge to make it to the next station.

    To combat range anxiety, PlugInAmerica.org has provided a searchable map of charging stations throughout the country here.

    The Ohio map shows high clusters of charging stations in the high-density population areas one might expect: Hamilton, Franklin and Cuyahoga counties. But there appears to be a decent amount of charging station coverage even in the rural areas of the state including in Washington Court House, Chillicothe, Lancaster, Bellefontaine, Tiffin and Tippecanoe, among many others.

    Stateline reports that there are three levels of charging available for plug-in electric vehicles, according to the Council of State Governments.

    “Most can be plugged into an ordinary 120-volt outlet, but charging is slow. The most popular charger resembles the 240-volt outlet used for refrigerators and washing machines, which provides 10-20 miles of range per hour of charging. The third choice, a direct current “fast charging” outlet, zaps 60-80 miles of driving into the car in only 20 minutes.

    “Most electric cars have plug heads that are compatible with the three types of chargers. Tesla is the exception, with its own style of plug and outlet, but Tesla drivers can buy an adapter that will fit the other outlets.”

    In the state transportation budget last year, Ohio lawmakers instituted a new $200 annual fee for electric vehicle owners that is being implemented in 2020.

    “Owners of electric vehicles will pay $200 in addition to vehicle registration, and people who own hybrid vehicles will pay $100 plus registration,” WCPO’s Whitney Miller reports.

    Miller reports that the Ohio Department of Transportation’s financial team estimates the fees will generate between $4 million and $6 million per year.

    David C. DeWitt
    David C. DeWitt is an award-winning journalist with over 15 years experience covering Ohio politics and policy. He has worked for the National Journal, The New York Observer, The Athens NEWS and Plunderbund.com covering topics such as education, health care, crime and courts, poverty, government, business, labor, energy, environment and social issues. His work has also appeared in Government Executive, the Columbus Dispatch, Girlfriends magazine, Bleacher Report and the Ashtabula Star Beacon, among others.