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Henrico earns $1.4 million grant to create EV charging station network

Henrico is the only locality in Virginia and only one of 47 localities in the nation to receive funding from the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Grant Program of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The county will provide matching funds of $363,200.

Trevor Dickerson

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Henrico County will install electric vehicle charging stations at seven locations, including at libraries, parks and recreation facilities and government centers, after being awarded a $1.4 million federal grant to promote clean energy and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

The funding aims to help communities expand public access to electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, particularly in areas that are accessible but underserved by privately operated stations. Henrico is the only locality in Virginia and only one of 47 localities in the nation to receive funding from the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Grant Program of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The county will provide matching funds of $363,200.

“Henrico is grateful to receive this federal support to begin to develop a network of EV charging stations that will provide our residents, workers, and other travelers with convenient access to critical infrastructure that will put us one step closer to a healthier, more sustainable future for our planet,” said Henrico County Public Library Director Barbara Weedman, who serves on a committee overseeing the county’s EV charging station initiative. “This effort aligns perfectly with so many other environmental initiatives of the county and its HEART committee, including land conservation, stream restoration, solar energy generation, tree planting, and building to LEED standards.”

Pursuing federal grants to support the county’s sustainability efforts is a priority for HEART, which stands for Henrico’s Environmental Action Resource Team.

Officials plan to spend the coming months identifying a vendor and designing the charging stations, forming the Henrico County Community Charging Network. The county’s committee considered about a dozen sites and is recommending the following locations from all five magisterial districts: Tuckahoe Area Library, Fairfield Area Library, Henrico County Government Center, Eastern Government Center, Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Henrico Sports & Events Center and Short Pump Park.

“We are thrilled that our Fairfield Area and Tuckahoe Area libraries are part of this infrastructure initiative that ultimately can support our environment,” Weedman said. “We think it’s a great fit and envision library users being able to conveniently charge their vehicles in the parking lot while enjoying all that is offered in our libraries.”

The Sports & Events Center is also an ideal location for a charging station because it regularly attracts individuals and families for games and other events that last several hours, said Dennis Bickmeier, who oversees the facility as executive director of the Henrico Sports & Entertainment Authority.

“An EV charging station will be another guest enhancement at our new facility,” he said. “We continue to look for opportunities to promote sustainability in our daily operations, from water use to recycling, composting, and now an EV charging station. With so many young people visiting our facility, we have an opportunity to help educate them about the benefits of sustainable practices as we look for more ways to enhance what we are doing.”

Officials expect to have several Level 2 charging ports at each location or about 38 ports across all seven sites. Users can expect to pay market rates to recharge their vehicle’s battery in a few hours, depending on the type of vehicle and the amount of charge needed.

As envisioned, the county will contract with a private vendor that will cover all the costs for installation and maintenance of the stations in exchange for a portion of the revenue generated from the charging fees. Henrico has used a similar model to develop solar-energy systems at libraries, schools and other county locations.

The EV charging stations will be ADA-accessible and likely require some modifications to parking areas at the station locations. The county’s planning and design process will include community input and engagement opportunities.

An estimated 69 privately operated EV charging stations are available in or near Henrico, but most are in more affluent, urbanized areas or near major highways, according to the county’s grant application. That leaves “large pockets of the County without convenient access to public charging infrastructure,” the document says.

Electric vehicle sales continue to increase. According to Kelly Blue Book, they represented 7.6% of the U.S. market in 2023, an increase from 5.9% in 2022. Recent data from the Department of Motor Vehicles indicates that owners have self-reported about 3,200 electric vehicles currently based in Henrico; officials believe the actual number is probably greater. The county registers about 400,000 vehicles each year.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.