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story.lead_photo.caption APAmeren Missouri is offering incentives for businesses to help them install electric vehicle chargers across the state. Available funding, expiring in 2022, will help businesses install 1,000 chargers at 350 locations.

Ameren Missouri is providing money to businesses to install electric vehicle chargers at a reduced cost.

As electric vehicles become more prevalent nationwide, there is an increased demand for public charging stations. Ameren's Charge Ahead program has already provided $1 million in incentives to help businesses and public facilities make electric vehicle charging more widely available for drivers, and $5 million is still available.

Not many Mid-Missouri businesses have applied for the program, according to an Ameren news release.

The available funds — which will expire at the end of 2022 — can help businesses install 1,000 charging stations at 350 locations across the state. Businesses can recoup up to 50 percent of the total project cost, or $5,000 per Level 2 port and $20,000 per Level 3 port. Before the incentives, most chargers cost about $7,000. Through Charge Ahead, they're $3,500.

More than 50 electric vehicle models are available today and nearly 140 models are expected by 2024. Declining battery costs are predicted to lower the price of electric vehicles to equal those of gasoline cars by 2023. As the costs and barriers decrease, electric vehicle adoption is projected to rise to an estimated 18.7 million in the United States by 2030, according to the news release.

Reducing carbon emissions is important to Ameren as it works toward its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, Patrick Smith, vice president of economic, community and business development at Ameren Missouri, said in a news release.

"By partnering with local businesses, apartment complexes and public facilities to provide incentives for EV charging, we're enabling our region to more easily adopt electric vehicles while also giving businesses an advantage that is attractive to customers and employees alike," he said.

Installing electric vehicle chargers can be beneficial to businesses as electric vehicle drivers tend to plan their shopping trips around charging access. Property owners can set their own price for kilowatt hours or offer it for free as an incentive to draw customers.

Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas services for more than 100 years. Its mission is to "power the quality of life for its 1.2 million electric and 132,000 natural gas customers in central and eastern Missouri." The company's service area covers 64 counties and more than 500 communities, according to the news release.

To learn how to apply for Charge Ahead, visit AmerenMissouri.com/EV.

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