DEP announces new funding to expand Pa.’s electric vehicle infrastructure

Photo courtesy of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the projects financed by the grant money.

 Efforts to expand Pennsylvania’s electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure are coming in the form of grant funding and new charging stations, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) confirmed Friday.

The state grant money, totaling more than $936,000, is expected to finance 16 additional fast charger installations across the commonwealth.

DEP also announced efforts to draft rule-making “to make electric vehicles more readily available to consumers” and the release of a booklet outlining the basics and benefits of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs).

“DEP is committed to supporting this choice by increasing public knowledge of electric vehicles, making it easier for consumers to find electric models, and helping to expand charging infrastructure,” DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in a statement Friday. 

The announcement of the new initiatives comes as Pennsylvania was ranked 17th among states on an overall EV scorecard issued by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) earlier this month. 

As of November 2020, there were more than 29,000 electric vehicles registered in Pennsylvania, according to the DEP’s Electric Vehicle Roadmap.

 

“This number is just a fraction of the total number of registered vehicles, but it’s more than twice the number of EVs registered in Pennsylvania in 2017,” DEP Deputy Communications Director Deborah Klenotic told the Capital-Star. “Interest in zero emissions vehicles is growing among Pennsylvanians.”

Transportation generates 47 percent of nitrogen oxide and 21 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in Pennsylvania, according to the DEP. 

The department said it expects the current projects to “remove 771 tons of carbon dioxide, .50 ton of nitrogen oxides, .30 ton of volatile organic compounds, 186 pounds of coarse particulate matter, and 51 pounds of fine particulate matter annually from the air.”

The $936,619 needed to fund the projects is coming from the DEP’s Driving PA Forward Program, a group of initiatives tasked with reducing emissions and improving air quality across the commonwealth in addition to moving Pennsylvania away from fossil fuels to cleaner technologies. 

Here’s how the $936,619 will be spent:

DEP awarded $750,000 to EVgo Services for three projects:

  • $250,000 to install six fast-charging plugs at Cedar Realty Trust Quartermaster Plaza, 2300 West Oregon Ave.., Philadelphia. The site is within a half-mile of Interstate 76 and three miles of Interstate 95.
  • $250,000 to install four fast-charging plugs at Albertsons Acme Market, 124 Morton Avenue, Ridley Township, Delaware County. The location is within two miles of Interstate 95 and Interstate 476.
  • $250,000 to install four fast-charging plugs at a Sheetz gas station/convenience store at 9002 University Boulevard, Moon Township, Allegheny County. The site is less than a mile from the Pittsburgh Airport, less than a half-mile from Interstate 376 Business, and less than four miles from Interstate 376.

DEP awarded EVBuild, Inc. $186,619 for a project to install two fast-charging plugs in a mall parking lot at 100 N.W. End Boulevard, Quakertown Borough, Bucks County.  The project is located along high-traffic Route 309 and within four miles of Interstate 476.

Once completed, these stops will add additional stops to Pennsylvania’s growing network of highway segments known as “electric vehicle corridors,” which are being developed by DEP and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). 

The initiative aims to have a fast charger every 50 miles along the corridors, which currently total 731 miles, according to the DEP.

Cassie Miller
A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.