ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - As part of a settlement over Volkswagen fraudulently reporting emissions outputs of its vehicles, Minnesota is set to increase its electric vehicle (EV) charging stations throughout Greater Minnesota in the coming years.
From 2024 to 2027, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) says it will spend a portion of $14 million on increasing Minnesota’s EV charging network by more than 2,500 miles.
In 2016, the German carmaker was found to have cheated on emissions standards, violating the federal Clean Air Act by selling cars that emit air pollution over the legal limit. Later that year, Volkswagen agreed to pay $14.9 billion over 10 years as part of the fraud settlement.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) says it will spend a portion of $14 million on increasing Minnesota’s EV charging network by more than 2,500 miles throughout Minnesota.
The bulk of the money will be allocated to automobile buybacks, but $2.7 billion will be dispersed among states to local governments and private companies. Of that, Minnesota will see an estimated $47 million that must be spent by 2027.
According to the MPCA, under the terms of the settlement, funds can either be spent on vehicle replacements – swapping older diesel vehicles for newer models – or invest in EV infrastructure (up to 15% of settlement funds).
In 2018, ZEF Energy Inc. was selected to build four EV fast-charging corridors, adding approximately 1,110 miles of EV corridors to Minnesota’s charging network as part of its first phase of investments.
In 2019, MPCA awarded more than $1.4 million in grant funds to install 22 EV fast-charging stations along highway corridors in Greater Minnesota as part of its total $11.75 million investment during additional funding of the first phase of settlement fund awards.
During the second phase, from 2020-2023, MPCA earmarked 65% of an available $23.5 million on investing in EV trucks and school buses, in addition to increasing its charging network infrastructure by $3.5 million through additional stations.
Minnesota is currently entering the third and final phase of settlement investments, with the remaining 35% going to, "continue our commitment to achieving substantial emissions reductions by replacing older, more polluting diesel-powered vehicles and equipment with newer, cleaner technology," according to the MPCA.
Other investments include electric school buses and clean heavy-duty on- and off-road vehicles.