S.D. officials want flexibility to subsidize more charging stations for electric vehicles

Capitol News Bureau

FILE – This Oct. 17, 2018 photo shows a Chevrolet Volt hybrid car charging at a ChargePoint charging station at a parking garage in Los Angeles. The country, and the world, will need thousands more for drivers to accept vehicles that are powered by batteries alone. But automakers and charging companies are struggling to raise the numbers now because they’re investing before demand arrives. With more than 40 fully electric vehicles on the market in the U.S. or coming within the next three years, however, auto and charging company executives say the demand is on the way.(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — State government is considering whether more money should be available in South Dakota to help underwrite more fast-charging stations for electric vehicles along I-90 and I-29.

The state Board of Minerals and Environment approved seven grants for stations in December. Now the board wants to hear what the public thinks about using more from South Dakota’s portion of a penalty that Volkswagen paid to states in 2016 for cheating on air-quality requirements.

South Dakota’s current plan calls for 5% of the VW money to go into charging stations. The proposed changes would triple it to 15%. The board may consider revising the plan later this year.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources is accepting written comments from the public through Friday, April 9, 2021. They can be sent to Barb Regynski through the internet or by U.S. mail to her at Air Quality Program, 523 East Capitol, Pierre, SD, 57501.

Five had come in electronically as of Monday morning. All supported shifting more funds to EV-charging.

Wrote Tim Jensen of Spearfish Motors, “Being in a heavy tourism area and on I-90 it is a great location to take care of the future EV needs of the public.”

Robert Moffitt is coordinator of North Dakota Clean Cities, a nonprofit program that supports use of alternative fuels. He said NDCC recommended North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality put all 15% into fast chargers and that led to installing nine stations last year.

“Until this funding opportunity, the state had no fast chargers. Several of these are along I-29, if SD adds some along this highway, it will create a corridor for EV travel,” Moffitt wrote.

South Dakota lawmakers last winter added a $50 fee for passenger electric vehicles. It starts July 1 and will be charged as part of motorists’ annual vehicle registration fees.

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