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Electric Vehicles and Alternative Fuels

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Electric vehicles (EV) and other alternative fuels — including compressed natural gas (CNG), liquified natural gas (LNG), propane, and hydrogen — are playing an increasingly important role in Pennsylvania's transportation network. To meet public and industry expectations and ensure Pennsylvanians can get to their destinations safely and reliably using EVs and alternative fuels, PennDOT is planning for the new infrastructure needed to support this transition today — paving the way for the cleaner, more energy-efficient travel of the future.

PennDOT is actively collaborating with federal, state, and local partners to expand the Commonwealth's EV charging and alternative fuels network. Through the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Alternative Fuels Corridor (AFC) program, the department is proactively planning for the build-out of fast-charging EV and alternative fuel stations, particularly along highways, to support the needs of drivers for reliable long-range and employment-related travel. PennDOT also works closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP), which leads a number of EV and alternative fuels initiatives and funding programs.

More information on EVs, the status of Pennsylvania's EV charging network, the AFC program, and other departmental efforts regarding alternative fuels may be found below.

Understanding the Basics of EVs and Charging Infrastructure

Types of Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Charging Stations

There are three main types of EVs:

  1. Hybrid EVs
  2. Plug-in hybrid EVs
  3. All-electric EVs, also known as battery EVs (BEVs)

PennDOT's EV planning is focused on supporting drivers of all-electric BEVs, which do not have the option of fueling with gasoline, by developing a safe and reliable network of publicly accessible EV charging stations statewide.

EV TypeGas TankElectricity PortCharging Type
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)YesNoNo plug; Charged through regenerative braking
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)YesYesPlug-in: Level 1, Level 2
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)NoYesPlug-in: Level 1, Level 2, and DC Fast

For more information on the differences between HEVs, PHEVs, and BEVs, please visit the Alternative Fuels Data Center Hybrid and Plug-In Electric Vehicles resource page.

Types of EV Charging Infrastructure

There are three levels of EV charging for plug-in EVs (PHEVs and BEVs):

  1. Level 1
  2. Level 2
  3. DC Fast

PennDOT's EV charging station planning is mostly focused on DC Fast stations, which can charge an EV in just 20-30 minutes — or about the same amount of time it takes to stop for a quick meal on the highway.

Plug-In EV Charging TypeRangeUse
Connector Type
Level 1
3.5-6.5 miles per 1 hour chargingResidential parking, such as home garage
Level 2
14-35 miles per 1 hour chargingPublic or private parking for several hours, such as at a workplace, hotel, shopping center, entertainment event, or residence
DC Fast (Level 3)
100 miles per 30 minutes charging (or more for newer models)
  • For a quick stop on a long-distance trip, such as in the parking area of a gas/convenience store, restaurant, or shopping center
  • For use by drivers who lack access to home-charging, such as in metropolitan areas

For more information on the differences between charging infrastructure levels, please visit the Alternative Fuels Data Center Charging Infrastructure resource page.

Pennsylvania's Fast-Charging Network

For EVs to be as convenient as traditional cars (and of course, much cleaner!), drivers need to feel confident that they will be able to find a public DC fast-charging station on the road when they need to recharge mid-trip. With the U.S. Department of Transportation setting a goal to build a network of half a million fast-charging stations nationwide by 2030, including $5 billion in formula funding to the states, the opportunity is now for PennDOT to play its part in making it as convenient as possible to drive an all-electric vehicle in the Commonwealth, for all types of trips.

Monitoring EV Registration and Charging Infrastructure Trends

PennDOT continues to monitor available data on electric vehicle registrations and charging infrastructure. This data helps PennDOT identify our infrastructure gaps and guides our investment decisions.

Access our infrastructure map below to visualize what areas currently have the most registered electric vehicles, our state's Alternative Fuel Corridors, and our public Level 2 and Level 3 (DC fast) charging locations.

PennDOT also tracks county electric vehicle registrations by year. In 2020, there were over 15,000 electric vehicles registered in the state. The highest counties of EV registrations are in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh regions.

Statewide EV and Hybrid Registration Trends by Year
Bar chart showing number of registrations for electric and hybrid vehicles from 2015-2020.