Four fast chargers coming to Circle K in Richmond; second round of funds announced to expand EV network

RICHMOND, Ky. (Feb. 19, 2024) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear joined Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Administrator Shailen Bhatt and several state and local officials at Circle K in Richmond to break ground on the first electric vehicle (EV) fast charging station in the southeastern United States built with federal funds from the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Program.

Gov. Beshear also announced that more progress is ahead as Kentucky is again seeking proposals to install up to 16 additional stations along Kentucky’s interstates and parkways using NEVI funding. Today’s groundbreaking begins the first phase of the state’s EV Charging Program, which aims to add up to 40 new fast charging stations by 2025 along Kentucky’s interstates and parkways.

“We are already the EV battery production capital of the United States,” said Gov. Beshear. “To make sure Kentucky keeps leading the way, we’re building out our EV infrastructure so our families can charge up as they travel our great state.”

Kentucky will receive nearly $70 million from the federal NEVI Program established through the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

“Kentucky is a leader in electric vehicle manufacturing, and with today’s announcement, the Bluegrass State becomes a leader in building out reliable and convenient electric vehicle charging infrastructure,” said FHWA Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration’s ‘Investing in America’ agenda, we are delivering world-class infrastructure that will help us reach net-zero emissions by 2050 while creating high-quality jobs right here in Kentucky.”

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) oversees the program’s implementation and is responsible for administering the funds.

“The number of registered EVs in Kentucky continues to grow, and we want to ensure current and future owners have a reliable network of charging stations to support long-distance EV travel,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray.

Circle K EV Fast Charger Groundbreaking
The Circle K Richmond location is one of two awarded sites Circle K will own and operate and is an example of the fast-charging stations to be built across the state. The Circle K charging site will initially offer four ABB E-mobility 180 kilowatt (kW) fast chargers, each ready to recharge a typical EV in under 20 minutes. Initially installed with standard Combined Charging System (CCS) 1 connectors, North American Charging Standard (NACS) connectors will be added later this year – after national standards and UL certification are finalized – in order to support all types of current and future EV makes and models. Circle K was awarded $536,600 through the EV Charging Program for the $670,750 project. Circle K was also selected to install an EV fast-charging station in Berea and construction will soon follow after the Richmond site is complete.

“We’re very pleased to partner with the state in bringing EV fast charging to the commonwealth with the support of the NEVI program,” said Louise Warner, Circle K senior vice president of global fuels. “Partnerships like these are helping to accelerate the development of charging infrastructure to keep pace with growing demand and EV adoption. We’re proud to be part of those efforts as we bring EV fast charging and other mobility solutions to our valued customers in hundreds of our sites across the U.S.”

“Delivering high-powered, reliable fast chargers manufactured in America, ABB E-mobility is honored to work with great partners, like Circle K, a company drivers trust and rely on for their fueling needs,” said Chris Nordh, head of ABB E-mobility for North America. “Kentucky’s leadership under Gov. Beshear and the Federal Highway Administration’s support in building the first NEVI funded public charging site in the southeast is key to enabling e-mobility with reliable, easy to use charging solutions across all parts of the country.”

These new privately owned fast charging stations will be open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The stations will be built, owned, operated and maintained by private developers. These developers must fund at least 20% of the construction and operational costs for the first five years, with federal NEVI Program covering the remainder. These joint public-private investments will yield high-paying construction and maintenance jobs for Kentuckians. EV owners will pay to use the fast-charging stations.

“With every EV mile driven, the air gets a little cleaner and that is good for the environment and the health of Kentuckians,” said Kentucky Energy and Environment Secretary Rebecca Goodman.

Second Request for Proposals Expands Kentucky’s EV Network 
Kentucky has already selected seven developers to install chargers at 24 sites. Federal funding for these sites totals $15.4 million. These initial sites serve most of Kentucky’s long distance EV Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs). A second Request for Proposals (RFP) will seek to award funding for up to 16 more charging stations to complete the long-distance network while meeting the federal requirement to have charging stations every 50 miles on all AFCs across the state (Station Map). The RFP, like the one issued in 2023, will seek bids from private developers to design, build, own, operate and maintain fast charging stations for five years after construction is complete.

Responses to this RFP will be due in mid-April. Candidates will be selected on a site-by-site basis to receive a portion of federal funding allocated to the state. Additionally, KYTC will host a networking event on March 5 for those interested in leading or being part of a proposal team.

The FHWA requires that charging stations be installed first on federally designated AFCs, which in Kentucky includes all interstates and parkways.

Other funding sources, such as the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program are also available for local governments and entities interested in building stations on and off the AFC system.

Pending future guidance from the FHWA and build out approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Kentucky has plans to spend NEVI funds across the state.

The EV Charging Program, a key part of Gov. Beshear’s Better Kentucky Plan, is executed by KYTC in collaboration with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, Public Service Commission and FHWA.

Today’s announcement supports the commonwealth’s surging EV sector. Since Gov. Beshear took office, the state has seen numerous major EV-related announcements accounting for $11.6 billion in planned investments and more than 10,125 new full-time jobs created.