$14 million from Volkswagen settlement will be used for statewide electric vehicle charging station

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FILE – This Sept. 21, 2015, file photo, shows the Volkswagen logo on a car for sale at New Century Volkswagen dealership in Glendale, Calif. A U.S. appeals court on Monday, July 9, 2018, approved a $10 billion settlement between Volkswagen and car owners caught up in the company’s emissions cheating scandal. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, […]

RICHMOND, Va. — After a nearly $100 million settlement from the Volkswagen mitigation, hundreds of electric car charging stations are going to be installed in Virginia over the next three years.

Governor Ralph Northam announced the public-private partnership with EVgo on Thursday to set up a network of electric vehicle charging stations for the public. The intersection between energy and transportation has the wheels turning for Gov. Northam.

“No-where do we see that more clearly than the growing market for electric vehicles,” he said.

The electric charging stations will be set up by busy corridors across the Commonwealth such as highways like I-64 and I-95.  

“We will also focus on the urban population centers in Northern Virginia, Richmond and Hampton Roads,” Gov. Northam added.

The settlement with Volkswagen allows states to use up to 15 percent of the settlement funds to be allocated towards electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

“So we’ve become the first state in the nation, to use that money for an electric vehicle charging network,” Gov. Northam said.

EVgo officials say the company will also “match” the money from the state as part of this partnership.

“We will put in what it takes to get the job done,” Cathy Zoi, EVgo’s CEO, said.

EVgo has a number of charging stations already in Virginia and about 1,000 nationwide. Other companies have also set up shop in the Commonwealth, including a charging port right in front of the Science Museum of Virginia.

According to the International Energy Agency, 280,000 electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. in 2017. That’s up by more than 100,000 from the year before.

Zoi says people using electric cars regularly notice a difference “at the pump.”

“You pay when you plug into the fast-charging network. What is interesting, is that it’s significantly less expensive than gasoline,” Zoi said.

Places Zoi says these charging stations have been successful in areas like grocery stores, where a driver will plug-in for about 30 minutes while they’re getting groceries.

Gov. Northam says having a network of charging stations will make it easier for people to take charge and get electric vehicles.

“By helping our transportation sector towards electric vehicles, we can also provide cleaner air to communities that are at a higher risk to air pollution-related health problems,” he said.

Having more electric vehicles on the road is part of a larger effort for Gov. Northam to increase the amount of renewable energy generated in Virginia by at least 30 percent by 2030.

“I think that if we work together, that’s something that we can all do,” he said.

The goal is to have the network up and running at full capacity within three years.  

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