Colorado Finalizes Plan for State’s VW Settlement Money

Media Contacts

We Applaud Big Investments in Electric-Vehicle Charging Stations, Cleaner Buses

CoPIRG Foundation

Today, the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) publicly released their plan for investing the $68 million that Colorado will receive from Volkswagen’s (VW’s) settlement over their emission-cheating vehicles. CoPIRG Foundation applauds the plan, known as the Beneficiary Mitigation Plan (BMP), for investing the maximum allowed in electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and incentivizing transit agencies and school districts to upgrade dirty diesel buses to cleaner, electric-powered buses. 

“Volkswagen’s misleadingly dirty cars emitted pollutants by as much as 40 times over the legal limit,” said Danny Katz, the Director of the CoPIRG Foundation. “We applaud Colorado for using much of the settlement money in a truly transformative way by focusing on electric cars, buses and trucks. Supporting electrification is the best way to put us on track to where we ought to go – a transportation system with zero emissions.”

The state’s plan would invest the money in the following ways:

  • $10.3 million in zero emission vehicle (ZEV) equipment like electric vehicle charging stations. 
  • $18 million dedicated to transit buses
  • $18 million dedicated to trucks, shuttles, and school buses
  • $11.7 million as flexible funds that will be allocated to the areas above with the most demand 
  • $5 million to support the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, a program that reduces diesel emissions in construction, agriculture, mining and industrial areas.
  • $5.7 million in administrative costs

The state’s plan to invest $10.3 million in electric vehicle (EV) charging stations is a critical part of eliminating “range anxiety,” which leads Coloradans to forego purchasing electric vehicles because they do not think there will be sufficient charging capacity in the locations where they want to travel that they will be able to drive an EV there and back without running out of power. 

CDPHE estimates that there is enough money to build 30-35 DC fast-charging EV stations spaced roughly 50 miles apart along Colorado’s main interstates and highways. In addition, they estimate they can build 260-270 Level 2 stations at ski resorts, national and state parks, parking garages, workplaces, and apartments along with 15-20 DC fast-charging stations. A Level 2 charger adds 12 to 25 miles for every hour charged and a DC fast charger adds 100 miles or more in an hour of charging.

In addition, the plan incentivizes transit agencies to upgrade to electric-powered vehicles by not only helping to pay the additional cost of the electric bus but also some of the charging infrastructure. Denver’s transit agency, RTD, has been operating electric buses on the 16th street mall for over a year. 

“This plan is an important part of implementing the vision Governor Hickenlooper set out in Colorado’s Electric Vehicle Plan released earlier this year. This plan will reduce pollution and we applaud the state for investing heavily in a zero emission future,” said Katz. 

CDPHE submitted the final BMP to the VW settlement trust on March 21, 2018. Colorado must now wait at least 30 days before requesting the settlement funds. CDPHE reports that the process for entities to request funds from Colorado’s share of the settlement dollars is being developed and funds are expected to be available late spring-early summer 2018. The BMP can be found HERE