New EV charging project in NH funded by VW settlement
The Errol General Store on Route 16 just recovering from a Fire 2021will house the first electric vehicle charging station funded by New Hampshire’s share of a 2017 Volkswagen emissions agreement.
The New Hampshire Executive Council approved $132,000 for the Chargers at its meeting Wednesday.
“Good for Errol General Store,” New Hampshire Department of Environment Commissioner Bob Scott told the council. “They had a fire and were looking ahead to have that type of infrastructure. So they leaned forward by doing that. That is why they are the first.”
Five years ago, New Hampshire received around 31 million US dollars in the Volkswagen settlement, which revolved around allegations against the automobile company cheated on federal emissions tests.
The state plans to spend the maximum of $4.6 million of those funds allowed under the settlement to expand EV charging infrastructure nationwide. New Hampshire has focused about state support Clean Diesel Program with the remainder of the funds, as well as using the money to replace school buses.
A scorecard New Hampshire, along with 29 other states and Washington, DC, gave a D grade by the US Public Interest Research Group, which ranked states based on how much their plans prioritize vehicle electrification.
After two unsuccessful attempts to solicit proposals for EV charging projects to be funded with the money from Volkswagen, the country’s most recent tender received applications for 35 sites in 25 cities and towns.
More contracts will be submitted for city council approval in the coming months, according to an announcement by Gov. Chris Sununu.
Mark Sanborn, Deputy Commissioner for the Environment Department, said Wednesday that the funds would support not only New Hampshire’s electric car drivers but also the tourism economy.
“It’s also about being open to people out of state who want to use these corridors, continue [engage in] Tourism, but they have electric vehicles,” he said.
New Hampshire will also receive $17 million federal funding for EV charging stations along major travel corridors such as I-93 and I-95. Scott told the council his department is working closely with the Department of Transportation to ensure the programs work together.
“There is a great need for this type of infrastructure. And what we don’t have to do is a year later, DOT digs up what we did,” he said.
Scott said he expects the Volkswagen program to fund 22 fast charging stations and a similar number of slow charging stations.
Before the vote, Republican Executive Councilor Joseph Kenney, representing Coos and Grafton counties, advocated for more education about EV charging.
“There is a movement towards these electric cars. And so we need to build that infrastructure to support them,” he said.