Under Armor is the only Baltimore company to have received grants for EV charging stations
Funded with $ 37 million from the national settlement with Volkswagen for air pollution violations, grants for charging stations for electric vehicles went to companies and government agencies across Maryland this year:
There were subsidies for installing workstation chargers in places like a Cambridge hospital and an office complex in Columbia. Subsidies for the faster chargers intended for transportation corridors went towards placement in a Dunkin ‘Donuts store in Elkton, an Exxon station in Annapolis, and other locations.
None of the grants for the fast chargers went to Baltimore locations. And only one company in Baltimore received grants for the workstation chargers – Under Armor.
The sportswear maker received $ 117,000 to offset the cost of setting up 26 charging ports on its waterfront campus in Port Covington.
As part of the “Charge Ahead Grant Program”, the recipients are not obliged to make the charging stations available to the public, but can do so on request.
“I don’t know if Under Armor will make them available to the public, but it would be nice if they did,” said Lanny Hartmann, a blogger who has recently moved to Colombia and lives sent about the granting of scholarships.
When asked about access, an Under Armor spokesman said the company’s charging stations were only for employees and visitors.
“The purpose of this grant was to promote the adoption of electric vehicle charging by private companies so that their employees can charge while they work,” said Neil Juergens, Under Armor’s senior vice president of real estate, in a statement from the spokesman. “This in turn will drive the private acceptance of electric cars.”
Juergens said the company already has four charging stations provided by ChargePoint – three dual chargers in its Tide Point facility and a single charger in Building 37, the former Sam’s Club.
“All chargers need a code to operate,” said Juergens, confirming that users of the 26 new ports would also need “a code” to access them.
Open Access elsewhere
The money comes from the $ 75.7 million Maryland received as a portion of Volkswagen’s $ 2.7 billion severance pay. (The automaker admitted in 2016 that it fitted diesel vehicles with equipment that cheated on state emissions tests.)
A portion of this, $ 11.3 million, was allocated to government programs to promote “zero-emission vehicle infrastructure”.
The idea behind the workplace program is to make EV charging easier in government and private facilities, make EV driving cheaper and easier for employees, and, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment, “attract a state-of-the-art workforce” (MDE), who manages the program.
However, that doesn’t mean that all of the fellows have chosen to limit their use of the charging stations, as Under Armor did.
At the one location in Maryland that received a larger grant package – the Columbia Gateway Office Complex, which awarded $ 234,000 for 52 charging ports at six addresses – charging will be open to everyone.
“We believe an open system architecture is the way forward,” said Matthew Wade, CEO of the EV Institute, the Baltimore company that supplies the Level 2 chargers to the Columbia facilities.
“If someone is in this area and wants to use the charger, they can just do it.”
“We believe it should be like stopping at a gas station and refueling” – Matthew Wade, EV Institute.
Wade said the current landscape of drivers having to pay monthly subscription fees too often to provider companies and having to use codes and key fobs with rfids to access their accounts discourages consumers from adopting zero-emission technology.
“We don’t think you should,” he said. “We believe it should be like stopping at a gas station and refueling.”
On the way to zero emissions
Who gets to use the charging ports is a small part of the uncertainty surrounding the plans for Under Armor’s Port Covington headquarters, which were scaled back earlier this year amid corporate setbacks and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Juergens noted that the scholarship program is set up to offer a refund after installation, adding, “We can still choose not continue. “In the course of Covid, the company is currently in the” voluntary return-to-work mode, “he emphasized.
• Charging deserts in large cities keep electric cars out of the mainstream (New York Times 04/16/20)
• Infrastructure plan provides for 500,000 new charging stations. Let’s not screw it up like the first 80,000 (Forbes 04/12/21)
The state received applications for job grants for 55 locations and eventually excellent 37 in August, according to MDE, which will work with the Maryland Energy Administration to select recipients. In addition to Under Armor, a government site in Baltimore, the State Center, received funding.
There are currently more than 36,000 electric vehicles in the state, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation.
“We have completed the first financing round, but we are opening two more financing rounds,” said MDE spokesman Jay Apperson The brew. “The second funding round will open towards the end of this calendar year, and the third funding round will open at the end of 2022.”
To like many‘Hartman will look closely. A longtime electric vehicle driver and proponent of electric vehicles, he said he “became interested in the role of public money” in accelerating the adoption of zero-emission vehicles in the face of the planet’s climate crisis.
“The government grant is important, but very small,” he said. “There is great potential – with billions of dollars in federal infrastructure funding – to fund EV stations on a massive scale and really make a difference.”