Commerce awards over $85 million to expand electric vehicle charging across Washington state
Funding going to nonprofits, utilities, tribes and public agencies in communities with highest need
OLYMPIA, WA – Governor Jay Inslee joined Washington State Department of Commerce Director Mike Fong today to announce over $85 million in grants that will fund nearly 5,000 new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in communities throughout the state. All of the funds are going to nonprofits, electric utilities, tribes and public agencies, and half of the grants will install chargers in communities most at risk of negative health effects caused by fossil fuel pollution.
“One of the most important ways we can make electric vehicles an option for more people is by providing more charging stations. More and more Washingtonians are choosing to go electric, to the point we now have the second highest rate of EV adoption in the nation,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “Thanks to the Climate Commitment Act and other climate investments by the Legislature, thousands more people will be able to choose clean electric cars that are healthier for children and for our planet.”
“We are committed to ensuring that the benefits from decarbonizing Washington’s economy are experienced broadly,“ said Commerce Director Mike Fong. The process for awarding these EV charging grants prioritized projects that add chargers in multifamily housing, publicly accessible locations and in communities highly vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution, Fong said.
One grantee, Women of Wisdom (WOW) Tri-Cities, has an EV carshare program. They provide a transportation option to those in low mobility areas, while also making EVs more accessible and visible to people in rural communities who may not have considered EVs. Their three public charging sites serve Yakima, College Place and Walla Walla.
“WOW Carshare program is a visionary initiative that tackles emission issues head-on, while also addressing the critical EV charging demand,” said Chauné Fitzgerald, founder and CEO of WOW Tri-Cities. “By bridging the gap of resources, WOW Care not only helps reduce emissions but also empowers communities that have historically been marginalized, creating a more inclusive and equitable future for all.”
This is the first phase of investments through the Washington State Electric Vehicle Charging Program, with additional support from the Climate Commitment Act, and are part of efforts to reduce transportation emissions, improve air quality and promote equitable access to electric vehicle charging.
Among the awards announced today are:
- 213 multifamily properties, including apartment buildings
- 211 fleets and workplaces, primarily local government agencies and school districts
- 141 public locations, such as recreation centers, libraries and grocery stores
In total, today’s awards will result in the installation of 4,710 Level 2 EV chargers with 5,362 individual charging plugs and 271 direct current fast chargers with 420 plugs. Depending on the vehicle and charging unit, a Level 2 charger can add 10-20 miles per hour of charging and fully charge a 300-mile range battery in about 6-8 hours. Given this, Level 2 chargers are perfect for destination and overnight charging. DC fast chargers can charge a 300-mile range battery up to 80% in 20 minutes and are often used as range extenders along major travel corridors or at places where a driver would spend up to an hour.
Funding was allocated to applicants based on a competitive scoring system that prioritized installations in areas with high levels of pollution and few existing chargers, among other criteria. To help applicants understand where ideal charging opportunities existed and how their locations might score in prioritization, Commerce partnered with Timmons Group to create two interactive maps, one focused on public charging sites and another for residential sites.
United Hub, a community-based organization focused on increasing access to home ownership for communities of color, will use grant funds for multifamily charging projects in King County.
“With the Department of Commerce’s support, United Hub is ready to make a lasting impact on bringing renewable energy solutions to our communities. Empowered by the grant, UHub is paving the way for a sustainable future – one EV charger at a time,” said Ali Lee, committee chair, United Hub.
“These significant investments in new EV charging infrastructure will also support good jobs for electricians and technicians throughout the state,” Fong said. Part of the award criteria included points for projects that committed to partnering with electrical worker apprenticeship programs to install the new charging stations.
“Work is slow in the electrical industry right now, these jobs are a lifeline, for both our members and the environment. It’s a good day when you can pay the rent and do something to fight climate change,” said Matthew A. Hepner, executive director, Certified Electrical Workers of Washington.
The national nonprofit Center for Sustainable Energy assisted Commerce in program design, including incentive structure and eligibility requirements, and is providing ongoing applicant technical assistance, consumer support and outreach.
“CSE developed this program with Commerce based on Washington state’s unique objectives and the experience we have gained from designing and administering EV and EV charging incentive programs for states that are at the forefront of decarbonization,” said Evan Wright, CSE director, Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and Operations.
To learn more, visit the Washington State Electric Vehicle Charging Program website or contact the Department of Commerce at EVCharging@commerce.wa.gov.
Looking beyond EVs, Commerce will soon open applications for approximately $67 million to fund community decarbonization efforts that will advance clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the primary benefit of overburdened communities and vulnerable populations. This will include projects that modernize the electric grid, promote innovation and solar energy deployment, enhance community resilience, support low-income communities, target industrial decarbonization and facilitate the siting and permitting of clean energy projects.
In addition, Commerce is launching a Tribal Clean Energy funding opportunity with at least $16 million available to similar projects by federally recognized tribal governments and tribes’ contracted service providers.