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MPCA to expand electric vehicle charging

As the electric vehicle market continues to expand throughout the state, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced it will fund the installation of up to 38 additional fast charging stations in Greater Minnesota, extending the existing EV highway corridor network by more than 2,500 miles, according to a press release. Fast chargers can fully recharge an EV with a 100-mile range in as little as 20 minutes, depending on the car battery.

Chargers will be placed 30 to 70 miles apart along seven proposed corridors, making it easier than ever for Minnesotans to use EVs to travel longer distances, including:

• From Duluth to Grand Portage State Park on MN-61

• Traveling east-west across northern Minnesota on MN-1 between Ely and Thief River Falls

• From Granite Falls north to Karlstad on U.S. Route 59

• From St. Cloud to Marshall, Pipestone and beyond on MN-23.

“Minnesota has set ambitious goals for powering 20% of light-duty cars with electricity by 2030 and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050,” said MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop. “Funding infrastructure projects like this will help us reach our goals while supporting Minnesota’s green economy and our growing EV market.”

Between 2018 and 2019, the number of EV registrations in Minnesota nearly doubled, but gaps in the charging network may dissuade potential buyers who want to travel freely and not worry about where they can recharge. In the last two years, MPCA expanded Minnesota’s EV charging network along highway corridors by approximately 1,100 miles and funded 25 Level 2 charging stations, each with two charging ports, in local communities.

The new $2.6 million grant opportunity leverages funds from the national Volkswagen settlement to build out a network of fast charging stations so EVs can travel farther across the state. Applicants will be asked to place five to seven fast chargers along specific segments of roadway. A map of Minnesota’s existing and proposed charging corridors is included here and available on the MPCA website.

“When we’ve asked Minnesotans how we should spend funds from the Volkswagen settlement, building EV infrastructure is one of the most widely supported proposals,” said Rebecca Place, MPCA’s electric vehicle program administrator. “We are planning for the future by ensuring each charging station has a back-up station and enough electrical capacity for future expansion.”

The grants are intended to help reduce vehicle emissions in Minnesota by encouraging use of EVs rather than gas-powered cars. Passenger vehicles are one of the largest sources of climate-changing greenhouse gases and air pollution in Minnesota, accounting for nearly 70% of total GHG emissions from the transportation sector, the release stated.

More information about the grant opportunity can be obtained in an online training session Sept. 15. Applications for grant funds are due by Nov. 25. For more information, visit the MPCA’s grants web page at www.pca.state.mn.us/air/ev-fast-charging-station-grants.