The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) announced it is distributing $170,000 in grants to help install up to 22 dual-port electric vehicle (EV) Level 2 charging stations in public and workplace locations.
Level 2 charging stations are ideally placed in locations where EV drivers plan to park for at least 30 minutes, such as retail, restaurants, workplaces or government buildings.
A Nov. 10 press release says the grant opportunity is part of the agency’s initiative to "expand access to EV technology across the state" using funds from Minnesota’s share of the national Volkswagen (VW) settlement. Increased use of EVs in place of gas- or diesel-powered cars will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful air pollution in the state, noted the release.
The grant announcement coincides with an initiative between Cummins, a top local employer, and the city to facilitate installation of charging stations in downtown White Bear Lake, particularly the parking lot at Third Street and Banning Avenue.
Unofficially referred to as the parking lot project, City Council members heard about the idea last February from John Haine, regional general manager at the Buerkle Road Cummins sales and service headquarters.
While the company produces mostly diesel engines, Cummins also makes a number of other products, including an electric school bus, Haine said.
He presented reasons to consider electric vehicle charging stations, pointing out that the city would become a destination for those needing to charge vehicles and benefit from a reputation of environmental conscientiousness. His team at Cummins created an in-depth decision matrix to aid the city and council in choosing what kind of EV charger best suits them.
Cummins has been working with a facilitator, Great Plains Industries (GPI), to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) through the installation of public charging stations in both White Bear Lake and Shoreview. The global company, which manufactures high-horsepower engines and power generators, was looking for a project to advance sustainability in the communities where it has facilities.
According to Haine, 20% of Americans state their next car will be electric. The GPI states that electric models are coming for nearly all auto manufacturers. Ride-sharing companies are also going electric: Lyft recently announced a commitment to 100% EVs by 2030.
City Manager Ellen Hiniker said staff will work with Main Street businesses and City Council regarding the downtown charging stations. The project is slated for 2022.
Applications for MPCA grant funds are due by 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 8, 2021. The amount available for each dual-port station is $7,500. For more information, see pca.state.mn.us/air/ev-level-2-charging-station-grants.
— Debra Neutkens