Indiana Energy Providers Propose Projects to Promote Electric and Natural Gas Vehicles

Group Proposes Statewide Network of Electric Vehicle Recharging Stations

INDIANAPOLIS – Changing out diesel vehicles for ones that run on electric and natural gas and creating a statewide corridor of electric vehicle charging stations are among the proposals from the Indiana Energy Association (IEA) for using Indiana’s $40.9 million settlement from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund. 

The IEA is the trade association of the investor-owned electric and natural gas energy providers, which includes NIPSCO, Indiana Michigan Power, Duke Energy, Indianapolis Power & Light Company, Citizens Energy Group, and Vectren.

Indiana has received the funds as part of the $2.9 billion Volkswagen settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to mitigate the excess nitrogen oxide emissions caused by the company’s illegal use of emission defeat devices in certain diesel vehicles.

In comments submitted to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, IEA suggests $32.8 million be evenly allocated to replace diesel fleet vehicles with electric and natural gas vehicles. IEA also proposes that $6.1 million be used to create the Crossroads of America EV Interstate Corridor, a statewide network of direct current (DC) fast-charging electric vehicle stations along Indiana’s major highways. “IEA member companies believe using the mitigation settlement funds to promote the replacement of diesel vehicles with electric and natural gas vehicles will produce significant improvements in air quality across the State of Indiana,” said Mark Maassel, President of the Indiana Energy Association.

Maassel called the statewide Crossroads of America EV Corridor a “bold and transformative project that would improve Indiana’s environment, promote the health of all Hoosiers, and encourage economic development for decades.”

IEA indicates the new charging stations are critical to the continued growth of electric vehicle use. IEA points out there are currently only 23 publicly-available DC fast-charging stations in Indiana. With only six of these stations located outside the Indianapolis metropolitan area, most electric vehicles cannot travel across Indiana, according to the IEA.

IEA said focusing on the replacement of diesel fleet vehicles, such as school buses, transit buses, and tractor trailers, with electric and natural gas vehicles would produce significant improvements in air quality because 50 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions in the state are produced by mobile sources.

IEA believes its suggestions for using the Volkswagen settlement funds are consistent with the strong environmental commitment of IEA members companies. Thanks to billions of dollars of investment since the year 2000, emissions from Indiana’s electric power industry are down 43% for carbon dioxide, 89% for sulfur dioxide, and 77% for nitrogen oxide.

“To have cleaner air, we need cleaner vehicles. We believe transitioning from diesel to electric and natural gas vehicles is an important step toward ensuring cleaner air for all Hoosiers,” Maassel concluded.

IEA collaborated with two organizations designated as “Clean Cities Coalitions” by the U.S. Department of Energy in the development of the proposal, the South Shore Clean Cities, Inc. and the Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition.

Tim Rushenberg

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