Vermont property owners apply for electric vehicle charger grant

Property owners applied for state money weeks ago, and the decisions will be announced Friday.
Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 8:13 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - To keep Vermont on the path to an electric car future, car chargers will be popping up at places like apartment buildings.

Vermont has set aside $1 million in multi-unit dwelling grant money to put up electric car chargers. Several weeks ago, property owners, like at apartment buildings, applied for the grant. The decisions are expected to be announced Friday. If chosen, property owners will get money back for things like installation and permitting fees but the cost must be paid upfront.

As the state looks to get more people driving electric, there are still questions about logistics for people living in apartments. ”You can’t just run a cord a mile to where you happen to find a parking space. This is going to be, I think, one of the more significant challenges,” said Jenny Carter, a Vermont Law School professor and electric vehicle expert.

But Carter says we have a long way to go and says driving into an electric future won’t be possible without making sure Vermonters with lower incomes are included. The hesitation starts with the cost of buying the car.

There are a few rebates that car buyers can take advantage of including federal, state, and local offers. For some, knocking off more than $10,000 puts a new, electric car within reach. For others, the upfront costs remain a barrier.

Carter says many lower-income Vermonters won’t even qualify for the federal tax credit because their tax bill at the end of the year won’t be enough.

“The federal income incentive is really geared toward the people who need them the least, and not towards those people who need them the most,” said Carter.

Carter says another potential barrier is zoning laws. “There are things in zoning that really weren’t, you know, when zoning was written, they weren’t really thinking about electric vehicle chargers, that wasn’t really on their mind at the time,” she said.

Carter says Vermont’s climate goals unless people are prioritized.

“We need to pay special attention to make sure low-income Vermonters aren’t left behind,” said Carter. “We won’t be able to meet our Greenhouse Gas emissions or vehicle targets without cleaner options for everybody.”

She says more money may be available if the Legislature passes it.

In the meantime, state leaders will be reaching out to landlords and project developers to see what works and what doesn’t.

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