In 2014 three college students from West Virginia University released a report of their findings as a result of extensive testing on VW cars. The California Air Resource Board (CARB) and the EPA were interested and continued to build on their research. This research uncovered a defeat device installed in around 600,000 cars built by Volkswagen from 2009 to 2016. This was planned to help sell what they called clean diesel cars in the United States. You may recall this as “Dieselgate.”
Because of that, VW agreed to spend $14.7 billion. These settlement funds are split into three areas: a vehicle buyback, environmental mitigation trust and zero emission vehicles fund. Pennsylvania will receive about $120 million.
One of the programs is Electrify America which is a national program to increase EV charging station infrastructure and increase consumer awareness about EVs. Another part is allocating funds to states which can be used for various types of programs including electric buses and EV charging stations.
Electric vehicles are the future. Technology is making them better and less expensive every day. Tesla is the current leader and one of their competitive advantages is their extensive charging network allowing drivers to travel long distances and charge as needed.
More EV Stations are Needed
Other vehicle manufacturers don’t have this expansive network. There are charging station networks like ChargePoint and EVgo but more stations are needed. Public charging stations need to be located in three key areas:
Destinations: Charging stations located where drivers are going. Ex: Hotels, shopping centers.
Corridors: Charging stations located along major routes for charging during trips.
Workplace: Charging stations located at work allowing employees to recharge during the day.
The settlement requires VW to install a network of charging stations across the country and help fund charging stations for hotels, businesses and multifamily housing. To put it in perspective, it would be like Ford funding the installation of gas stations in the early days of the automotive industry. It’s a great situation for VW because more charging stations will ultimately help them sell more EVs. The entire EV industry will benefit from this as well.
Put another way, what if Ford offered to cover most of the costs to install a gas pump at your hotel to attract more customers for you? This is a significant benefit for the hospitality industry not only for sustainability efforts, but to help attract EV drivers and to stay on the cutting edge in a competitive marketplace.
EV charging stations are the gas stations of the future.
Each state has its own program for the funds. For example, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and South Carolina use rebate programs which can cover up to 80 percent of the total project costs. New York offers a flat $4,000 per plug reimbursement program.
About the Author
Travis Eckert is the founder of Charge Forward LLC. Charge Forward Consulting works with hotels and resorts to help them get EV ready. Charge Forward Consulting offers free consultations.