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General Motors making moves towards electric vehicles, but is Ohio's infrastructure ready for the switch?

Posted at 11:32 AM, Oct 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-08 11:32:10-04

CLEVELAND — General Motors is looking to ramp up revenues with a push toward’s electric vehicles, but how far does the infrastructure for such improvements lag?

Fortunately, upgrading our infrastructure, doesn’t necessarily mean residents will be paying more in taxes. The Ohio Department of Transportation and Ohio Turnpike Commission both say plans have been in the budgets for a while now to help fund the upgrades.

Among the plans announced by GM this week, CEO Mary Barra says one new goal is to convert more assembly plants in North America to make electric vehicles by the end of the decade. GM also set a goal to produce nothing but electric-powered cars by 2035.

“We’re launching businesses that will bring new customers and new revenues to GM,” Barra said. “Thanks to GM manufacturing we’re able to do this at scale with speed, agility and quality.”

Barra also announced plans for more than 30 new electric vehicles by 2025— with options for every price point and lifestyle.

“General Motors is delivering the technologies that redefine how people and goods are moved,” Barra said. “Our commitment to a vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion has placed us ahead of much of the competition.”

So how do Ohio’s roads stack up?

ODOT says preparations have been underway for a few years now. They have identified areas across the state where charging stations are needed and are working towards a goal of a charging station located every 50 miles.”

In June, a spokesperson from the Ohio Turnpike said upgrades are underway at new toll plazas now, which should be ready by the spring of 2023.

“We even have electric vehicle charging stations at some of our new plazas and we're going to have more in the future,” said Brian Newbacher, a spokesperson for the Ohio Turnpike. “I know that something that we hear from our customers, that they're looking for EV (electric vehicle) charging stations and we're working on that.”

Ohio’s state transportation budget for the next two decades, which Gov. Mike DeWine signed in April includes $8 million for electric vehicle charging stations.

If President Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure proposal passes, $140 million would be set aside for electric vehicle charging in Ohio.

Experts say some of the pros to switching to an electric vehicle include environmental benefits, low maintenance costs and tax incentives for buying one.

One barrier to converting more Ohio drivers to electric vehicles is the additional registration fees required.

Lawmakers say it’s to make up for the state gas tax electric vehicle drivers aren’t contributing to, but some are now arguing there should be a tax exemption for several years in order to entire more Ohio drivers to switch to electric vehicles.

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