COLUMBUS (WCMH) — AEP Ohio is hoping a new $10 million rebate and incentive program will help put a charge in the public’s interest in electric vehicles.

The plan, approved this week by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, will encourage the development of 375 new electric vehicle charging stations.

Sam Spofforth, executive director of Clean Fuels Ohio, says the development of electric vehicles present a “chicken-and-egg-type” dilemma. What comes first? The electric cars or the electric charging stations?

Ryan Houk, Smart City Program Manager at AEP Ohio, says the utility is committing $10 million to the charging station side of the equation.

“By being able to see these stations out in your natural element will alleviate a lot of that anxiety that electric vehicle owners have about charging out in the public,” Houk said.

Houk says the rebates will cover about 75 percent of the cost of development and will be offered to multi-unit dwellings, workplaces and publicly accessible locations.

“This is a significant lift toward fostering the adoption of electric vehicles in the state of Ohio,” Houk said.

A similar rebate program through Smart Columbus generated a lot of interest from developers and owners of apartment complexes. 

Spofforth says charging stations are gradually becoming a necessary feature for businesses, parking garages and apartment complexes. He believes people will begin to demand it.

“If you’re in an apartment complex or condo…you probably don’t have access to a plug so that’s a barrier for you to buy an electric car,” Spofforth said.

The AEP rebate plan will offer rebates for 300 new “Level 2” charging stations…and 75 of the much more powerful “DC Fast” chargers.

Houk said they hope the additional charging stations will help move public opinion.

“This is a significant lift toward fostering the adoption of electric vehicles in the state of Ohio.”