By JIM SALTER
(ST. LOUIS, AP) — Ameren Missouri is seeking approval from the Missouri Public Service Commission to build six public charging stations for electric vehicles between St. Louis and central Missouri, the St. Louis-based utility said Monday.
Project leader Mark Nealon said five of the stations will be along the 140-mile stretch between St. Louis and Boonville on Interstate 70. The other will be in Jefferson City on U.S. 54. Construction in Boonville is expected to begin later this year, while timing for the remainder of the stations has not been determined.
There are nearly 1,000 charging stations for electric vehicles in Missouri, but most are in Kansas City, St. Louis and their suburbs. Since most electric cars can only go 100 miles or less without a charge, anything beyond local travel is problematic.
But Nealon said some 2017 electric car models are expected to be capable of holding a charge for up to 200 miles. Because the vehicles help reduce pollution and conserve gasoline, Ameren officials say they want to help make it more convenient for electric car users to get around.
“The need we are addressing is the need for charging infrastructure that is fast and located along long-distance driving corridors,” Nealon said.
The stretch of I-70 from St. Louis to mid-Missouri is the busiest in the Show-Me State. Nealon said the charging stations will be spaced 20 to 45 miles apart. Beyond St. Louis, Jefferson City and Boonville, specific locations for the other three stations have not been set.
The charging stations will accommodate all electric vehicle makes and models. Each station will include “fast-charging” and “standard charging” docks. Ameren is proposing a “pay at the charger” model that’s similar to using a gasoline pump. The fast-charging station will cost about $2.50 per quarter hour of plug-in time, Nealon said. The slower charger will cost about 30 cents per quarter hour.
Ameren Missouri estimates the cost of the charging stations will be around $600,000.