8News: Infrastructure deal to accelerate electric vehicle push in Virginia by expanding charging network

8NEWS, JACKIE DEFUSCO

More Virginians are expected to get behind the wheel of electric vehicles as the push to cut carbon emissions picks up speed.

President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was signed into law this week, is expected to accelerate the effort to expand charging stations. 

The environmental benefits and the lower cost of travel is what led Julius Alexander to buy his electric vehicle in 2013. He said a full charge from his home station, which takes roughly five hours, allows him to drive 250 miles at about seven cents per mile.

Alexander drove to Richmond from Connecticut for an event hosted by Dominion Energy on Friday to educate drivers about making the switch. 

“It has changed dramatically. When I first got my car, the only place I could drive from Connecticut was Boston and Washington D.C.,” Alexander said.

Since then, Alexander said charging stations have become much more common, but access remains a challenge, especially in rural areas.

“Virginia is getting more charging every day, which is great but there are still quite a few gaps,” said Dominion’s Electrification Manager Kate Staples. 

According to estimates from U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s office, Virginia should receive $106 million over five years to broaden its charging network because of federal infrastructure investments. Virginia will also have the opportunity to apply for the $2.5 billion in grant funding. 

It comes as the Virginia General Assembly is trying to increase supply by requiring manufacturers to deliver more electric cars to dealers beginning in model year 2025. 

“We have heard from dealers that they’re seeing unprecedented demand for vehicles right now and the supply is low,” Staples said. 

Another measure in the state legislature established a rebate program to cut down the initial cost of vehicles but lawmakers left it unfunded.

Meanwhile, Staples said Dominion is making its own investments, as well as offering incentives to residential customers and businesses to install their own charging stations. 

 “We really think it’s going to take everyone to get us the network that we need,” Staples said. “Transportation is the largest source of emissions in Virginia.”

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