Governor Cuomo announces $11 million in Volkswagen settlement funds to expand electric vehicle fast charging stations in New York

New Program Will Boost Upstate Installations to Facilitate Electric Vehicle Adoption and Improve Access in Disadvantaged Communities

Increased Use of Clean Transportation Supports Governor Cuomo’s Nation Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the availability of $11 million to build out the state’s network of fast charging stations to support wider adoption of electric vehicles. The Direct Current Fast Charger program will be administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to scale up electric vehicle infrastructure in areas of the state where access to fast charging stations is limited, and will also prioritize improving the availability of charging infrastructure in disadvantaged communities. Increased use of clean transportation supports Governor Cuomo’s goal for an 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 under the nation Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

New York continues to serve as a national model for reducing greenhouse emissions. As part of our efforts, we must ensure all New Yorkers, no matter where they live or their economic status, have access to the infrastructure required for using electric vehicles,” Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said. This investment will build the infrastructure necessary for empowering more consumers to choose clean, electric transportation options, while making electric vehicles an accessible option for all New Yorkers.”

We are continuing to reimagine New York’s future fueled by clean, renewable energy,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “This settlement with Volkswagen will allow us to further expand electric vehicle fast charging stations across the state. This helps to advance our commitment to reduce carbon emissions and achieve significant savings in fuel cost. We encourage New Yorkers to buy electric vehicles as we establish more charging stations across the state. We want to ensure New York State continues to lead in building back better, cleaner and greener now and in the future.” 

As part of the State’s $127.7 million allocation of the federal Volkswagen Settlement funds, this initiative builds upon Governor Cuomo’s landmark “Make Ready” announcement in July, which included a suite of major clean transportation initiatives to accelerate New York’s transition to cleaner mobility. It will also address the need to build out a strong network of easily accessible and visible charging stations for consumers in Upstate Regional Economic Development Councilsas part of the State’s comprehensive clean transportation strategy.

The Direct Current Fast Charger program will provide up to 80 percent of the cost to build publicly available charging stations for electric vehicles. Funding will be made available in specific REDC regions through two initial rounds, through which charging station developers will be selected to install at least four DCFC stations per site, at four or more site locations. Only one proposal per developer will be awarded for each eligible REDC region under each round, and if funding remains after these two rounds are complete, the program will continue to a third round. 

The program requires that at least 25 percent of the stations be located within half a mile of a disadvantaged community in support of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal of increasing access to clean energy and sustainable infrastructure to all end-users. In addition, developers installing charging stations in rural areas may be eligible to submit proposals under this program that include two different sites, which would support simultaneous charging for two vehicles at each site.

Applicants are encouraged to co-locate Level 2 EV charging stations and distributed energy resources, such as energy storage and solar, with the DCFC chargers. Although not required, proposals with these elements will garner additional points from the review committee. Funding for Level 2 charging stations is available through the Charge NY program while funding for distributed energy resources is available through NYSERDA’s energy storage and solar programs.

Applications for the first round are being accepted through February 18, 2021. The first round focuses on the following Regional Economic Development Councils regions: Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, and Western New York. The second round of funding will launch in July 2021 and includes the eligible Round 1 REDCs plus Mohawk Valley and Southern Tier. If needed, a third round is expected to encompass all areas that were included in the first two rounds.

The transportation sector is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in New York, representing approximately 36 percent of the state’s total emissions. Announcement builds upon New York State’s $1 billion investment in electrifying New York’s transportation sector, which is vital to Governor Cuomo’s sweeping climate and clean energy plan. Growing access and availability to electric vehicles and scaling the necessary infrastructure benefits all New Yorkers, including those in low-income or disadvantaged areas, by reducing carbon emissions to create cleaner air and healthier communities. Under a range of initiatives, including EV Make Ready, EVolve NY, and Charge NY, the State is rapidly multiplying the number of charging ports to have at least 10,000 across New York by the end of 2021. More than 29,000 Drive Clean Rebates have helped state residents purchase electric vehicles contributing to more than 65,000 sold statewide since 2010.

Funds secured through the federal settlement with Volkswagen are strategically invested in New York State under the Clean Transportation NYplan.The plan, executed by a collaboration of State agencies, directs Volkswagen settlement resources to maximize benefits that build on New York’s national leadership on clean energy and climate change. The State’s strategically leveraged investment of settlement funds is anticipated to result in at least $300 million of clean vehicles and infrastructure on New York’s roadways.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “New York’s use of Volkswagen settlement funds to expand EV infrastructure is advancing Governor Cuomo’s commitment to mitigate climate impacts from the transportation sector. Announcement will also improve access to EV infrastructure in communities most likely to be overburdened by environmental pollution.” 

Acting President and CEO of NYSERDA Doreen M. Harris said, “Lowering our carbon footprint must be a statewide effort across all sectors of our economy, and prioritizing access to clean transportation is a key focus of Governor Cuomo’s climate leadership. By increasing the number of charging stations in areas that largely lack this infrastructure, including those in disadvantaged communities, these programs will help to achieve our carbon reduction goals while ensuring that EV drivers have reliable access to charging services.”

New York Power Authority President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said, “Through this new funding opportunity, more public Direct Current Fast Chargers can be built in underserved areas of the state that have limited or no access to EV fast chargers. This initiative, paired with NYPA’s EVolve NY charging infrastructure program and other collaborative state, public and private efforts to increase availability of public charging options and distributed energy resources, such as solar and storage, will enable New York to lead the EV transportation revolution. These EV charging infrastructure efforts also will help the state advance Governor Cuomo’s ambitious climate leadership goals and further position New York as a trendsetter in e-mobility.”

New York State’s Nation Climate Plan

Governor Cuomo’s nation climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieving its mandated goal of a zero-emissions electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York’s unprecedented ramp-up of clean energy including a $3.9 billion investment in 67 large-scale renewable projects across the state, the creation of more than 150,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector, a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035, and 1,800 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while meeting a goal to deliver 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities, and advancing progress towards the state’s 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 TBtus.