Virginia was awarded nearly $94 million for its portion of a $10 billion settlement with Volkswagen in 2016 after it was revealed the company had been systematically cheating on emissions tests. Now, a large chunk of those funds will go toward building public electric vehicle charging stations across the commonwealth.
Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality has issued a notice of intent to award EVgo Services, an EV-charging-equipment company based in Los Angeles, a contract to construct charging stations throughout the state over the next three years, according to an announcement on Thursday by Gov. Ralph Northam.
EVgo’s network will prioritize Virginia’s most used travel corridors as locations for charging stations, and is currently scouting partners to determine where stations will be placed. Common partners are grocery stores, shopping malls, and large retail chains.
EVgo will also open a service center in Richmond that will serve as a maintenance hub for the company’s charging stations.
Per the terms of Volkswagen’s settlement, Virginia can use up to 15 percent of its allocation for electric vehicle infrastructure. In this case, that is approximately $14 million.
“Through this partnership with EVgo, Virginia will accelerate electric vehicle adoption, generate more private investment in electric vehicle technology, and help provide citizens in the Commonwealth with cleaner air,” said Northam in a press release.
According to EVgo, which already has charging stations in Virginia, the new chargers that will be installed are intended to keep up with future generations of electric vehicles, which will be able to handle more powerful chargers and larger batteries.
And as charging stations become more common, so will electric vehicles, experts say. “The idea is to blanket the country with electric vehicle charging stations,” said John Kalb, founder of an electric vehicle consulting firm called EV Charging Pros. “Once the charging stations are everywhere, people start to get comfortable and sales of electric vehicles increase.”
According to Bloomberg , charging infrastructure in North America will draw more than $18 billion in investment by 2030, and electric vehicles are predicted to make up 11 percent of new sales by then.
“From what we’re seeing, the future is going to be 100 percent electric,” Kalb told StateScoop.