New Mexico has a contract for 94 electric vehicle, or EV, chargers to be built, which, when completed, will give the state more than 600, according to Jerry Valdez, executive director of the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

Valdez said the chargers will not be limited to larger municipalities such as Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces.

“We want to make sure every community can participate — Pecos, Picuris Pueblo, Vaughn, Zuni Pueblo,” Valdez said on Thursday.

He said a second phase will focus on New Mexico’s interstate highways, placing charging stations every 50 miles.

“That will encourage visitors to come to the state,” said Ricky Serna, the state Transportation secretary. “We’re not going to be behind the 8-ball on this.”

Valdez and Serna were among several New Mexico officials — appointed and elected — who spoke about the EV program during a presentation Thursday at the Central New Mexico Community College Workforce Center in Albuquerque.

The Department of Transportation is scheduled to present its plan for expanding EV infrastructure to the Legislature’s Transportation Infrastructure Revenue Subcommittee on Friday.

New Mexico is receiving $38 million to install EV chargers as its share of the federal National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program. The state Legislature has appropriated $10 million in additional funding for the work and more state money is being sought.

Rep. Day Hochman-Vigil, an Albuquerque Democrat and vice-chair of the Transportation Infrastructure Revenue Subcommittee, said she is very proud of the progress New Mexico has made in efforts to confront climate change, including proposed advanced clean cars and truck standards.

Hochman-Vigil said she believes the more electric vehicles there are on the market, the more affordable they will become, and that the state is investigating subsidy programs that could make it possible for more people to purchase them.

“Electric vehicles give people who spend a lot of money on transportation an option on a way to get to school and to work,” said state Rep. Nathan Small, D-Las Cruces, chairman of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee. He said electric vehicles are more affordable to operate.

New Mexico in investing only in Level 3 chargers, which the state says are the fastest available in the country, fully charging a vehicle in 30 to 45 minutes at an average cost of $20, less than it costs to fill a tank with gasoline.

“And you never have to change the oil or change a spark plug,” Valdez said.