Ameren Missouri will build a network of electric charging stations along Interstates 70, 40 and 55 by the end of the year.
Ameren Missouri is among six Midwest utilities planning to build charging stations in several states, including Missouri, Illinois and Oklahoma. The multistate network is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
As more people rely on electric vehicles, additional charging stations are needed on highways to keep them running, Ameren Missouri officials said.
“By the end of 2030, we forecast nationally there to be almost 20 million,” said Matt Forck, Ameren Missouri’s vice president of community economic development. “The charging infrastructure to support those electric vehicles has to be in place, not only in Missouri, or within Ameren Missouri's footprint, but within the nation.”
The utility will place charging stations more than 30 miles from each other and install them alongside major interstates. Ameren Missouri officials said the organization already has received regulatory approval to build its charging stations and aims to have 11 stations across the state completed by the end of the year.
Each charging station will include four charge ports for multiple vehicles. Forck said the increase in the number of electric vehicles is expected to reduce carbon emissions across the state.
“The automotive industry is the highest-emitting form of carbon today; they surpassed the utility industry recently,” he said. “To the extent we help transition the fleet from traditional fuel to electric vehicles, that helps offset carbon, which obviously helps the environment.”
Environmental advocates say adding electric charging stations is a step in the right direction, making it easier for people help the environment by using electric vehicles.
“If we are going to really solve the climate crisis, we need to remove the carbon pollution from all sectors of the economy, including the transportation sector,” said Andy Knott, senior campaign representative for the Missouri Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “That starts with electrifying the transportation sector, and then making sure that the utilities are providing that energy with clean energy, like wind and solar.”
With more electric vehicles expected on the road, the additional charging stations will assure owners of electric vehicles that they can go on long drives, especially as electric vehicles become more affordable, Knott said. He said large companies like Ameren need to transition from coal to clean energy by 2030 to address climate change.
“Coal has many, many negative impacts on public health, air quality, and Ameren Missouri needs to move to 100% clean energy as quickly as possible in order to truly make this electric vehicle system clean,” Knott said.
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