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American Electric Power and five other electric utilities plan to build a series of fast charging stations for electric vehicles in a plan stretching from northern Ohio and Tidewater Virginia to west Texas. It’s part of their efforts to promote the use of electric vehicles by making charging stations more available throughout their service territories.

The Electric Highway Coalition — made up of AEP, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy Corp., Southern Co. and the Tennessee Valley Authority — would allow EV drivers to have seamless travel across the region, according to a statement released Tuesday.

According to the release, the Edison Electric Institute estimates 18 million EVs will be on U.S. roads by 2030. Earlier this year, General Motors announced it plans to make only battery-powered vehicles by 2035. On Tuesday, Volvo announced it will make only electric vehicles by 2030.

Many EV owners are concerned with the availability of charging stations during long road trips, so the Electric Highway Coalition is an effort to allow those owners to plan such trips, according to the AEP statement.

Sites along major highway routes with easy highway access and amenities for travelers are being considered as coalition members work to determine final charging station locations. Charging stations will provide DC fast chargers that are capable of getting drivers back on the road in approximately 20-30 minutes.

In an email to The Herald-Dispatch, AEP spokesman Scott Blake said the coalition’s deployment of charging stations is still in the development and planning stages, so there is no firm schedule on when charger installations might begin.

Members of the coalition are inviting other utilities to join so they can extend the reach of the network. According to a map attached to the release, the network includes only a small part of Kentucky. It also does not include northern West Virginia, which receives its electricity from FirstEnergy.

“Throughout the ages, travelers have had to figure out how to get from point A to B. From feeding and watering horses, to filling gas tanks, and now recharging batteries, ensuring that there are convenient places to accomplish these tasks is critical,” said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “With this effort, we are working to help drivers see that EVs fit their lifestyle and their travel plans, wherever the road might take them.”

AEP has committed to replacing its 2,300 cars and light-duty trucks with EV models by 2030. Additional medium- and heavy-duty vehicles will transition to hybrid or electric alternatives as models become available. AEP also is working with select customers across its service territory to help them understand the benefits of electrifying their own vehicle fleets or business processes.

AEP is working with regulators across its service territory to create programs that benefit all customers and support EV adoption, such as off-peak charging programs, incentives for charging station installations, energy efficiency rebates, and consultative services to encourage electrification.

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