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OKI prepares to build out an EV charging network in Greater Cincinnati

Ann Thompson
These cars are charging at Milford's Melink Corporation. OKI is looking to have as many as 100 more charging stations all over Greater Cincinnati, using federal infrastructure law money.

The Ohio Kentucky Indiana Council of Governments (OKI) is in the early stages of building a Greater Cincinnati electric vehicle charging network.

CEO Mark Policinski anticipates about 100 additional charging stations.

"The network’s got to be robust. There can't be like, 'OK, we’re going to have 14 chargers in the region.' It’s got to be immense," he says. "So how do we stretch that money? We're looking for funding partners; maybe jurisdictions have to come up with a local match. If we have a goal of putting 100 chargers in this region, I don't think that's unrealistic."

Bill Rinehart
This charging station is at the Pete Rose Way parking lot next to the Purple People Bridge.

Most of the money comes from the federal infrastructure law. OKI has $3 million for Ohio charging stations and $1 million for Kentucky.

The network will be a mix of high speed and regular chargers. Policinski explains the high-speed ones could cost $100,000 more than the regular ones.

Separately, the state of Ohio is using infrastructure money it got to install high-speed charging stations every 50 miles along interstates.

WVXU reported on that plan in July.

OKI’s Policinski says he's gotten interest from Green Township, Ft. Thomas, West Chester, 3CDC and more.

"We are putting together this plan in which we are going to put out pilot projects to see how it works, what works, how much usage there is. And the point being, that this is going to occur beginning in 2023."

Duke Energy is a partner in this project and in an email to WVXU, President for Duke in Ohio, and Kentucky, Amy Spiller said this:

"Duke Energy appreciates OKI’s broader vision around the electrification of transportation and is pleased to be one of its partners in discussing and planning for more EV infrastructure in our region."

She goes on to say, "As the adoption of EVs becomes more prevalent, it is important that charging stations to be readily available and accessible to all. But It is also important that the electric grid reliably support all load on the system, including new EV charging load. We look forward to our continuing partnership with OKI, as our early participation in the planning process is vital."

The project is expected to take four to five years.

Ann Thompson has years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology