State residents living in multifamily homes as well as motorists near public parking areas may soon have better access to electric vehicle or EV charging stations, thanks to the new Community Charging Rebates Program being rolled out by the Oregon Department of Transportation.
[Above photo by the Oregon DOT]
The agency said this rebate – which will range from $4,250 to $5,500 per charging port or up to 75 percent of eligible project costs, whichever is less – should help lower the cost of buying, installing, and maintaining Level 2 and Level 1 EV charging stations at multifamily homes and publicly accessible parking areas across Oregon.
[Editor’s note: A recent American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials video of a knowledge session held at its 2022 Annual Meeting featured panelists from the Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida DOTs discussing their respective plans for National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure or NEVI program funds.]
The Oregon DOT said this new rebate program, which launches in mid-to-late June 2023, will feature four rounds of funding through at least 2024. The first round runs from June through August and will make $1.75 million available for eligible EV charging projects, with 70 percent of first-round funding reserved for projects in rural areas and disadvantaged communities, where gaps in EV charging infrastructure are largest, the agency said.
People living in rural areas face longer travel distances and fewer EV charging options in Oregon, the agency noted, with 32 percent of state residents living in rural areas while only 12 percent of EVs are registered in rural areas.
“For many current and prospective EV drivers, reliable and accessible charging where they live, work and play is an important factor,” explained said Suzanne Carlson, director of the Oregon DOT climate office, in a statement. “Our new rebate program will help close gaps in charging infrastructure and increase EV adoption rates.”
She noted that lack of at-home EV charging options is a persistent barrier for people living in multifamily homes. This barrier is reflected in Oregon EV registration data: nearly 80 percent of EVs are registered in areas where most residences are single-family homes as compared to multifamily homes.
Oregon DOT said its rebate program should help lower that barrier. It will apply to Level 2 and Level 1 charger projects at apartment, condominium, co-op, and townhouse locations that have at least five residences, and at least five parking spaces.
Meanwhile, so-called “charging-on-the-go” is viewed as both convenient for EV drivers and a potential boon for local businesses. That part of the agency’s rebate program applies to Level 2 projects in publicly accessible parking areas like restaurants, grocery stores, gyms, coffee shops, libraries, parks, movie theaters, and more. Drivers can park and charge their EV while they go about their day, with Level 2 chargers can adding 25 miles of range per hour on some vehicles, Oregon DOT noted.