The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has rolled out a $1.4 million grant program aimed at increasing the number of electric vehicle fast-charging sites.
The direct public current or DC-fast electric vehicle charging installation funding will provide up to 75% of the cost to public DC-fast charging stations for electric vehicles. DNREC expects to award one to three grants with the program’s $1.4 million funding.
Funding will be targeted to increase the availability of electric vehicle infrastructure in areas where access to fast-charging stations is limited.
Delaware has about 4,000 electric vehicles, a tiny fraction of the nearly 450,000 cars and trucks in the state. However, most automakers are rolling out new EVs and sales are expected to climb.
Electric vehicle sales have been growing in Delaware with major automakers poised to roll out new models in the coming months and years. The number of charging stations has also grown. Wawa has added charging stations for Teslas, with employers adding a few parking spaces with EV charging stations.
New Castle County recently required approved base wiring for 220 volts in future new home garages as a way to spur the purchase of electric vehicles
The announcement comes on the heels of the release of Delaware’s Climate Action Plan, which outlines strategies and actions the state can take to reduce the emissions that cause climate change.
Widespread adoption of electric vehicles and installation of charging infrastructure to support the growing number of electric vehicle drivers are key strategies in the state’s Climate Action Plan, available at de.gov/climateplan.
“Vehicle electrification is a leading strategy in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from our transportation system,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “By providing funding opportunities for businesses to install charging stations, we are combatting climate change, improving public health, and providing new job opportunities.”
The funding builds upon Delaware’s Clean Transportation Incentive Programs, including a suite of rebates for light-duty electric vehicles and Level 2 charging stations.
Funding comes from the Environmental Mitigation Trust, which resulted from the state’s plan to use $9.6 million from the negotiated settlement between Volkswagen and the federal government.
The settlement came when the automaker was found to have tweaked its diesel engines in a way that concealed the actual amount of pollutants.
The state program will come out before any additional federal programs come into play. By some accounts, Biden’s infrastructure bill falls short in funding charging systems that would be needed in a rapid conversion to electric vehicles.
Battery prices are also expected to decline as more production goes online. At present, many EVs have a range of under 250 miles, with the price of 300-mile battteries putting the costs of the vehicles out of reach for some businesses and individuals.
Lower battery prices and extended ranges would push prices of EVs closer to gasoline-powered models.
This spring, Ford is expected to introduce an all-electric version of America’s most popular pickup truck that will come with a price that is competitive with gas-powered versions.
GM is also promoting what it sees as a breakthough in battery technology.