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Ameren plans electric car charging stations along I-70

ST. LOUIS – Ameren Missouri will build six charging stations for electric cars along Interstate 70 between St. Louis and Jefferson City as part of a pilot program, if approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC).

The public stations would include “fast-charging” and “standard charging” options. No locations have been chosen yet, but there will be stops in Boonville and St. Louis.

“Ameren Missouri acknowledges the many societal benefits associated with electric vehicles,” said Michael Moehn, president of Ameren Missouri. “They positively impact the environment, help create jobs, offer fuel and maintenance savings for EV owners, and help reduce our region’s carbon footprint.”

Currently available electric cars generally have a range of 100 miles. Ameren is hoping to have stations every 25 to 45 miles. As cars with greater range come into the market, Ameren is expecting more drivers to take longer trips.

“Someone has to act now as a means to close this infrastructure gap and address this new consumer expectation, and Ameren Missouri is willing,” said Mark Nealon, who’s leading the project for Ameren.

Nealon wants Ameren can help meet infrastructure challenges that need to catch up with an industry that has seen rapid technological improvements and a dropping price point.

“Missouri’s charging infrastructure gap is two-fold: regional communities are not connected together along driving corridors with charging stations, and those that are there aren’t fast enough to meet the needs of the long-distance driver,” Nealon said.  “Ameren Missouri’s proposal addresses both gaps.”

Ameren could also be innovating ways to make the electric car system more like traditional gasoline powered vehicles. They will be experimenting with a pay system at the charging stations similar to gas stations.

The company met with the Office of Public Counsel, PSC Staff, environmental groups, the Missouri Department of Transportation, and the Missouri Division of Energy. Ameren plans to file the proposal with the PSC Monday. 

“Ameren’s vision of leading the way to a secure energy future compels us to actively support emerging technologies such as electric vehicles as well as our customers who adopt them,” Moehn said. “Leading today in this area will help us transform tomorrow and help prepare our customers and state for a future in electric transportation.”

Ameren didn’t release a timeline for the project, but construction on the Boonville station will begin this year. The project will cost about $600,000.