Minden on list of cities receiving electric vehicle charging stations in Louisiana

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — More than 20 government agencies, universities and electric utilities in Louisiana soon will be getting electric vehicle charging stations worth more than $1.7 million.

The cities of New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Westlake, New Iberia, Bossier City, Minden, Natchitoches, Ruston and Pineville will be among those benefiting from the grants.

The Department of Environmental Quality is awarding grants to 26 entities for 82 charging stations, using money from the state’s $19.8 million share. The money comes from a settlement worth nearly $3 billion between the U.S. Justice Department and Volkswagen over violations of the Clean Air Act, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported.

Volkswagen sold about 590,000 vehicles equipped with devices that worked against their air pollution control features, resulting in increased emissions of nitrogen oxide.

Almost $12 million of Louisiana’s share of the 2016 settlement was set aside to replace 351 diesel engine buses owned by 16 school boards. The new engines will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions and other pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter.

Another $7.3 million was given to the state Department of Transportation and Development and the Department of Agriculture to replace old diesel equipment and vehicles.

The new grants are aimed at helping entities that either plan to buy or already have bought electric vehicles, by providing them with three different levels of charging stations:

— A Level 2 light-duty electric vehicle station which provides 240-cycle electricity that can charge vehicle batteries over several hours.

— A direct current fast charger, which can charge a vehicle in as little as 30 minutes.

— A paratransit charger station that’s designed to service multiple vehicles at once.

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