When it comes to the Dieselgate Settlement, the most well-known outcome (at least among EV enthusiasts and investors) is probably Electrify America. As part of the punishment for cheating on emissions, VW had to spend $10 Billion (with a capital B) on EV charging. So, it created a subsidiary to handle that and create a charging network out of all these stations. It has gone on to not only build stations with those funds, but is now also partnering with other companies through Electrify Commercial to build even more stations.
It’s tempting to speak of the Dieselgate Settlement in the past tense. After all, most of the settlement was reached in 2016, and Electrify America has been going for years now. But, this was far from the only effort to build EV stations that came from the settlement money, and it’s a process that still very much continues to unfold. As everybody knows, the wheels of government tend to turn slowly, and it can take years for anything to happen.
In this article, I want to share some of the vital EV charging construction efforts that are still happening, and how important some of them are for the owners of non-Tesla EVs.
The I-20 Corridor in Louisiana Is Finally Getting Some Love
While Electrify America opened up several coast-to-coast routes for non-Tesla EVs, there are still a number of corridors that it didn’t cover. One of them was Interstate 20, and most of Louisiana still doesn’t have any CCS or CHAdeMO charging points along that highway.
But, looking at Plugshare’s “Coming Soon” CCS stations, it’s apparent that this is about to change. The first station entry (from the west/left) references both a news article and a government document showing that the City of Minden has received funds from the Dieselgate Settlement and that they’re going to put in some DC fast charging.
Exact location details are not yet available, but Plugshare users often add stations to the map so future EV drivers can know where upcoming stations are going to be. This is important because people think of the future when choosing a car, and showing that travel through the area will be easier for an EV helps more people choose EVs.
The next “Coming Soon” station along the route is the City of Ruston. The story here is basically the same as the Minden station. Dieselgate funds to the local municipality are going to result in fast charging being put in, and the exact location isn’t known yet.
Finally, there’s an Electrify America station already under construction in Monroe. Obviously, this is more Dieselgate money going into the ground and coming back up with some power for EVs, even after years of waiting.
Once all of these stations are put in, the biggest gap for CCS charging along that route will be about 77 miles (from Monroe, LA to Vicksburg, MS). As more EVs sell and traffic increases, we’re going to need a lot more stations and stalls to handle it all, but travel along that route will at least be possible for most EVs now and the Infrastructure Bill funds will also be adding more stations.
I’ve written about New Mexico before, but it’s worth discussing in the context of this article.
While I-10, I-40, and I-25 north of Albuquerque got Electrify America stations, the rest of the state was still very limited on charging. When Dieselgate Settlement funds started to be disbursed, a few more stations popped up in Santa Fe, along with four stalls in Clines Corners (on I-40) and Carrizozo. But, despite all of the sites that had been chosen for more stations with those funds, the construction just stopped, frustrating New Mexican drivers and people who want to visit places like Carlsbad Caverns.
I checked into it, and two issues were at play. First, supply problems kept Francis Energy (the company putting the chargers in) from putting the stations up. Then, the state decided to put out a second round of Dieselgate funds, which was set aside for many of these same sites a second time. According to Francis Energy, the additional funds will mean faster charging rates at the sites. Instead of 60 kW max, they should be over 100 kW (but the exact speeds weren’t shared with me yet).
Looking at the southern half of the state, you can see what a big impact these “coming soon” (the icons with the wrenches) CCS and CHAdeMO stations will make. Not only will the whole southeast quadrant of the state become easily traversable with EVs (including Teslas, as there are no Superchargers out there), but the I-25 corridor will also open up for travel by all EVs. Even the little town of Columbus, where Pancho Villa once invaded, is going to get one.
The northern half of the state will also be getting many more CCS and CHAdeMO stations. Most of them are concentrated around Santa Fe and Taos, but there are many little communities around there that need the stations both for tourism and eventually for EVs to be feasible. The route to the Four Corners area (US-550) will also open up to non-Tesla EVs with the opening of stations in Cuba and Farmington.
So, Dieselgate funds are still having a huge impact, and will continue to bear fruit for EV drivers in 2023 and 2024 in New Mexico.
While I’m sure more examples could be found nationally, one of the most dramatic expansions of EV charging I could find from Dieselgate funds was in the Sunshine State. While I’m sure Ron DeSantis would rather spend the funds on something else, the terms of the VW settlement don’t really allow Florida to spend them on anything else. So, the state had to put in charging stations. And, the Plugshare map with Coming Soon stations shows a dramatic increase in CCS and maybe CHAdeMO stations is about to happen in 2023.
If you look at I-10 going across the state, it’s covered in the little wrench icons. I checked all of these, and they’re all the recipients of VW settlement grants. This will definitely help EV drivers living in and visiting Florida to be able to cross the state.
Plus, there are many more stations going in with just this most recent funding round. Most of the stations will be put in by Blink, and one is even going in at Disney World. You can see a full list here.
Putting all of these states together, it’s pretty clear that Dieselgate funds still have some pretty big impacts to make. Add in the Infrastructure Bill funds, stations to be put in by GM, stations to be put in by Ford, and many others, and we’re going to see things be a lot easier for EV drivers in 2023 and beyond.
Featured image and other images are screenshots from Plugshare.com. Fair use, commentary. Be sure to check it out yourself if you don’t already!
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Source: Clean Technica