Electrification of Wisconsin

​There's a new spark in the transportation industry that is charging up conversations across the globe: electric vehicles (EVs).​ 

While EVs have existed for years, the increased emphasis on this potentially transformative technology, will have exciting and significant impacts to Wisconsin's economy, workforce, and transportation system in the years to come. 

WisDOT's mission is to provide leadership in the development and operation of a safe and efficient transportation system. As EVs continue to alter the status quo of the transportation system, WisDOT will continue to collaborate with government, industry, and the public to create innovative transportation solutions that meet the needs of our state and contribute to the health and well-being of our communities.​

"Electrification is coming. The private sector has spoken. The major auto manufacturers are retooling and have announced ambitious plans to transition to producing predominantly electric vehicles in the near future. That is good for our environment because it can dramatically reduce emission from burning fossil fuels. We, in the public sector, need to be ready for this transformational change - and in Wisconsin, we will be. That is why WisDOT is continuing to work with our partners to enhance Wisconsin's EV infrastructure and make benefits of EVs available to everyone in Wisconsin."

- Secretary Craig Thompson​​​​


EVs are designed to run on electricity generated through an EV battery, eliminating the need for gasoline. They are energy efficient, environmentally friendly, require less maintenance than internal combustion engines (ICE) and run quietly.

Most EVs are able to travel more than 150 miles on a single charge and some can travel 200 to 300 miles or more. A number of factors impact range of battery charge including battery type and ambient temperature as cold weather greatly decreases range. EV battery design efforts continue to create more efficient options for consumers, allowing more miles per charge and faster charging than ever before. 

​According to respected national research firms, EVs are expected to comprise over half of all passenger vehicles sold in the United States by 2040, increasing the need for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (EVCS) across the state. The Wisconsin DMV reports that in calendar year 2020, 4,994 electric passenger vehicles were registered in the state. An additional 1,115 electric trucks were registered totaling 6,109 total registered electric vehicles.

Hybrid Vehicles

Currently, available hybrid vehicles run on both electricity and gasoline. There are two kinds of hybrid vehicles, plug in hybrids and hybrid vehicles. Plug in hybrids (PHEV) first run on battery power, and gasoline second. Hybrid vehicles run first on gasoline and then on electricity second. Both offer some benefits of full electric vehicles including reduced tailpipe emissions and energy efficiency. 

Today most EV charging is accomplished at home. To support and facilitate long distance trips and overcome range anxiety, Wisconsin is committed to establishing a robust network of publicly accessible EVCS. 

The Department's goal is to provide leadership in adapting the state's transportation infrastructure to support seamless short- and long-distance EV travel in Wisconsin. The Department will also work to develop preferred statutory and regulatory framework for transportation electrification. Efforts will focus on continued stakeholder collaboration, equity of integration across the state including urban, rural, suburban areas, and historically underserved communities as well as adapting the state's transportation infrastructure to advance electrified transportation. 

Key to meeting these goals is:

  • Education, outreach, and collaboration: Collaborating with and listening to internal and external stakeholders including government, industry, and the traveling public.
  • Stewardship: Focus on strategic investments to maximize available funding and meet state needs.
  • ​Data-Driven Approach: Applying a data-driven approach to electrification deployment statewide.​ 

Wisconsin's existing EVCS network is primarily privately owned. To see where EVCS are currently located, refer to the WisDOT Alternative Fuels webpage or the U.S. Department of Energy EVCS Locator

Medium- and Heavy-duty Electric Vehicles

In addition to EV passenger vehicles (light-duty vehicles), market demand for medium- and heavy-duty EVs is growing. Communities are turning to electric as an option for their bus fleets, replacing diesel counterparts. Truck fleets are also considering more electric options as viable alternative fuel sources for their fleets. The transition of medium- and heavy-duty fleets to electric vehicles would potentially offer numerous benefits including reduced tailpipe emissions. Medium- and heavy-duty fleet conversions can include additional challenges such as cost, availability, and long-distance battery range. ​

​There are three levels of EV chargers. 

 AdobeStock_355084520.jpeg AdobeStock_282732558.jpeg

              Level 1 Charger                        Level 2 Charger                          Level 3/DC Fast Charger

Level of Charger Charging Speed
Location and Uses
Level 12-5 miles of range per hour of chargingMost commonly located in homes of hybrid vehicle owners. Due to the slow charge pace, many EV owners opt for a Level 2 Chargers
Level 210-20 miles of range per hour of chargingMost commonly located in homes, workplaces, and other public charging locations where a vehicle would be parked for a few hours.
Level 3/Direct Current (DC) Fast Charger/Super Charger60-80 miles of range in 20 minutes of chargingFastest form of charging currently available, offering the greatest traveling distance in the shortest amount of charging time, and as a result, is a popular choice to place in public locations.​

Battery charge time is dictated primarily by type of battery and level of remaining charge. 

Currently, locations and placement of EVCS are determined by private businesses and landowners, Local governments are adding charging infrastructure to promote economic development and tourism within their communities. In addition to current state efforts, the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law​ (BIL) and eventual release of federal funding to states will enable WisDOT to more fully support efforts to create an EVCS network in Wisconsin.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)​, a nonprofit, nonpartisan association, serves as a liaison with highway and transportation departments in all 50 states and the Federal government. AASHTO is an international leader in setting technical standards for all phases of highway system development. AASHTO has provided a framework​ for state DOTs to use as they move forward with transportation electrification. Included in this guidance is current and possible state DOT roles as well as use scenarios for electric vehicles. 

In January 2022, AASHTO provided feedback to the Federal Highway Administration in a 10-page comment letter regarding the agency's "Request for Information" on guidance for developing electric vehicle or EV charging infrastructure. 

WisDOT Resources

  • The Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) publishes annual reports detailing vehicle registrations, including a report (#25) by fuel type and county. Find them at the link below.
    Wisconsin DMV Vehicle Information Reports
  • The DMV is responsible for the collection of motor vehicle fuel surcharges. To learn more about the surcharges, visit the link below.
    Wisconsin DMV Fuel Surcharge
  • ​To learn more about other alternative fuel sources, visit the link below.
    Alternative Fuel sources

State of Wisconsin Resources

  • Visit the link below for the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin's page on EVs. ​​
    Public Service Commission
  • In August 2019, Governor Evers issued Executive Order #38 which ordered the creation of the Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy (OSCE). OSCE leads the State of Wisconsin in addressing the effects of climate change through programs and policies that support the use of clean energy resources and technology. To learn more about OSCE, visit their website linked below.
    Wisconsin Department of Administration, Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy
  • In October 2019, Governor Evers issued Executive Order #​52 to establish the Governor's Taskforce on Climate Change. The Taskforce worked to develop the report linked below, presented to the Governor in October 2020.
    ​Governor's Taskforce on Climate Change Report

Federal Government Resources



Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Division of Budget and Strategic Initiatives