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Do you want a say in the future of EV charging in New Hampshire? Here’s your chance.

An electric car recharging in NH. Dan Tuohy photo for NHPR. 2023.
Dan Tuohy
An electric car recharging in New Hampshire.

This story was originally produced by the New Hampshire Bulletin, an independent local newsroom that allows NHPR and other outlets to republish its reporting.

Awaiting word on its application to the federal government for electric vehicle charging infrastructure dollars, the state’s Department of Environmental Services is proceeding in its planning with optimism.

The agency is holding listening sessions in October to gather input on the potential development of an electric vehicle charging grant program, where DES would use funding from the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program — if it’s awarded the money.

The federal CFI program is a competitive grant opportunity created by President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, aimed at deploying publicly accessible electric vehicle charging infrastructure in places where people live and work — both rural and urban areas.

“We want to hear from as many interested parties as possible,” DES wrote in its announcement of the upcoming listening sessions. “We are especially interested in getting input from residents living in and businesses located in disadvantaged communities — including rural and low-income areas. We want to learn how we can design a program that results in active participation and supports our communities.”

If an EV charging grant program is established by the state, eligible projects and applicants would have to meet the following requirements:

Individuals or organizations looking to provide public comment can either attend a virtual listening session – at 12 p.m. or 7 p.m. on Oct. 4 – or submit written comments by Oct. 6.

A void of electric vehicle charging stations is a growing concern in New Hampshire. While DES is pursuing federal funding to further electrification objectives, this past legislative session saw several related efforts, not all of which were successful.

House Bill 92 would have required the adoption of California’s vehicle emissions standards and ended the sale of new gas-powered cars in the state starting in 2035. Democrats were ready to compromise by instead forming a study commission on the matter, but the entire effort was killed outright.

The bill’s prime sponsor, Concord Democratic Rep. Rebecca McWilliams, introduced a floor amendment that would have instead established a commission to “address the challenge of market readiness and infrastructure in New Hampshire for the incoming wave of low emissions vehicles,” rather than moving immediately to adopt California’s program. It failed with overwhelming Republican opposition.

Related bills that did pass last session formed one committee to study electric vehicle charging infrastructure funding, and another to study electric vehicle charging stations for residential renters. The Legislature also modernized electric vehicle charging station statutes for construction projects.

New Hampshire Bulletin is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. New Hampshire Bulletin maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Dana Wormald for questions: Follow New Hampshire Bulletin on Facebook and Twitter.

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