HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania, June 29, 2021 (ENS) – Patrick McDonnell, who heads Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection, DEP, is celebrating the fact that 1,000 Level 2 electric vehicle chargers have been installed across the state, especially in small towns, with funding from the DEP Driving PA Forward program.
The Level 2 program is one of eight Driving PA Forward programs that are using Pennsylvania’s $118.5 million settlement from the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal to drive the transition toward zero-emission and low-emission vehicles and equipment and accelerate installation of related infrastructure.
Driving PA Forward is investing the maximum amount allowed by the settlement to support charging infrastructure – nearly $17 million.
McDonnell celebrated the placing of 1,000-chargers, often in rural communities, at Neighbors & Smith retail center in Camp Hill, a town of over 8,000 near the state’s capital city of Harrisburg, which installed four chargers with Driving PA Forward funding.
“Each one of these chargers adds another option for Pennsylvania’s electric vehicle drivers, and more electric vehicles on the road means less tailpipe pollution and healthier air quality in our communities,” said McDonnell. “It also helps Pennsylvania address the pressing challenge of climate change.”
While charging his electric car in the parking lot, Secretary McDonnell visited One Good Woman coffee/tea shop to talk with Neighbors & Smith property manager David Hutton and shop owner Michele Koch about the benefits of supporting customers’ and employees’ electric vehicle use.
Hutton said, “These charging stations not only offer convenience to our tenants, shoppers, and community, but they show Smith Land’s commitment to the evolving auto industry and the environment.”
Vehicles generate 47 percent of the nitrogen oxides in the air statewide, contributing to the formation of ground-level ozone, the DEP said. This affects the health of children; older people; people with lung diseases, such as asthma and emphysema; and those who work or are active outdoors.
Vehicles release 21 percent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air statewide, contributing to climate change.
Driving PA Forward-funded chargers have been installed by companies, organizations, and condo/apartment complex owners at more than 300 locations in 39 counties in a variety of communities across the state, including in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Braddock, Harrisburg, Oil City, Pottsville, Tunkhannock, and many other communities.
“Offering electric vehicle chargers is part of Epic Metals’ mission to address climate change. We’ve now installed seven SemaConnect EV chargers,” said David Landis, president of Epic Metals, located in Braddock, Allegheny County, a town of about 2,000 near the industrial city of PIttsburgh. “So far their use by employees and guests has displaced the burning of over 8,000 gallons of gasoline, reducing about 154,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.”
“Electric vehicles are the biggest thing to happen to transportation since the Model T. We’re honored to be on the leading edge of bringing this revolutionary technological change to rural areas,” said Matthew Austin, president and CEO of Austin-Corps, a logistics and energy company located in Tunkhannock, a town of less than 2,000. “Making charging stations available at public locations is key to overcoming perceived battery anxiety on the way to environmentally sustainable transportation.”
More than half the chargers were installed at public places, about one-third at workplaces, and the remainder at multi-unit residential properties. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has completed 12 charging projects at state parks with Driving PA Forward funding.
An additional 140 funded charging station projects are in process. They’ll add at least 500 more plugs and bring the number of counties to 45 with at least one charger funded by Driving PA Forward.
“We know Pennsylvanians are increasingly interested in electric vehicles for their health and environmental benefits, as well as lower fueling and maintenance costs,” said Secretary McDonnell. “Many people are asking, is the charging infrastructure in place to let me go where I want to go? Companies, local governments, and organizations are stepping up to fill this need.”
According to the most recent data available from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), 28,460 electric vehicles – both battery powered and plug-in hybrids – were registered in Pennsylvania as of February. Only 11,347 electric vehicles were registered in December 2017.
There are now more than 1,600 public Level 2 chargers that can be used by any vehicle at more than 800 locations throughout the state.
Featured image: Secretary Patrick McDonnell, who heads Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection, charges his Chevy Volt electric car by plugging in to the new ChargePoint electric vehicle charging station in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. June 25, 2021 (Screengrab from video courtesy DEP)