Challenges of Building an EV Charging Network in New Orleans

Known for its iconic jazz, incredible seafood, notable festivities, and the seemingly around-the-clock nightlife of the French Quarter, New Orleans has no shortage of exciting things to see and do. It’s also a hub of academic and scientific study, with several world-renowned universities located in and around NOLA city limits.

However, what New Orleans is not known for – at least not yet – is being electric vehicle-friendly. Louisiana is only behind Mississippi on the list of worst states for EV infrastructure, according to a study conducted by vehicle research company

The lack of fast EV chargers found within NOLA city limits in 2023 is a testament to the difficulty in making New Orleans a city where EV ownership is practical. As we march further into the 21st century and EV ownership increases, the need for a substantial EV charging network in New Orleans becomes greater.

Let’s take a closer look at the challenges of building an EV charging network in New Orleans:

Infrastructure Investment

As mentioned in the introduction, the biggest challenge in making New Orleans more EV-friendly is the upfront investments involved. Building a network of EV charging stations across the city won’t be easy or cheap. Buying land for public use, incentivizing property owners to install chargers on their private lots, and finding the funds needed to build EV charging infrastructure will be complex and expensive. However, like all investments made for the sake of progress, the sooner these actions are taken, the better off the community will be over time.

Range Anxiety

Imagine you’re in the middle of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, and a bad accident leads to bumper-to-bumper traffic. Your vehicle’s dashboard informs you of the limited battery left before your EV goes dead. It’s an unlikely situation, all things considered, but it highlights the concerns many NOLA residents have regarding range anxiety – the fear you can only go so far in an EV due to limited EV charging options. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg process where concerns over range prevent people from buying EVs, which in turn reduces demand for EV charging stations.

Permits and Regulations

The regulatory process for installing EV charging stations varies from state to state, parish to parish, and city to city. According to, the city is planning to build 25 level 2 charging stations across the city, but the project is stalled by various parameters regarding site selection and merit. While the process is not unusual, it reveals the amount of red tape involved in getting an EV charging network put in place in New Orleans.

Limited Public Awareness

Like so many other communities across the United States, New Orleans is a tale of two cities; rich and poor. And as capitalism would have it, the number of poor vastly outweighs the number of rich. With a dwindling middle class to boot, it’s easy to see how public awareness and interest in EVs is limited; electric vehicles, by and large, remain an option for those who can afford them. 

Limited Grid Capacity

It doesn’t require a degree in electrical engineering to know the more EV charging stations are being used, the greater the demand on the power grid. With the existing power grid in southern Louisiana already in need of refurbishment and expansion, it’s safe to say it’s not yet ready to handle the added demands that come with expanding the EV charging network across New Orleans.

Extensive Funding Requirements

From infrastructure to tax incentives to spreading public awareness about the benefits of EVs, the whole endeavor is sure to cost a pretty penny. But what other option is there? Securing funding for charging infrastructure may be a challenge, particularly in the absence of dedicated funding programs or incentives to support EV infrastructure development, but New Orleans never backs down from a challenge, especially when it comes to ensuring the Big Easy marches on into the future, regardless of the setbacks it experienced in the past.

New Orleans has a lot going for it. However, as much as the cultural and economic strengths are impressive, there remains a need for NOLA to be more proactive about significant community investment. One such project is the ongoing effort to expand the city’s EV charging network, an endeavor that will pay dividends in the long run for New Orleans and its citizens.

Sean Dalton is a freelance writer from California. He enjoys writing about cars, real estate, and technology.

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