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More power plugs for EV cars

Mahoning, Trumbull receive $1.2 million in charger grants

WARREN — Electric-vehicle owners in, or those just passing through, the Mahoning Valley will, in the future, have more options to plug in with some grant help from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

It announced Monday grants worth about $8 million are going to 25 counties, including Trumbull and Mahoning, to install more than 150 public EV fast-charging stations.

Four of the 32 locations across the state are in the Valley — one in Trumbull County will receive $271,720 and three in Mahoning County will receive a combined $895,904.

In Ashtabula County to the north, two locations are in line to receive grants totaling $474,960.

In Trumbull County, the money will go toward installing four single-port, 180-kilowatt chargers to serve four parking spaces at the Shell station at 6985 Truck World Blvd., Hubbard. Shell Oil Products US received the grant.

The locations in Mahoning County are:

• Eastern Gateway Community College will receive $420,944 to install five dual-port, 360-kilowatt chargers for 10 parking spaces at Thomas Humphries Hall, 101 E. Federal St., Youngstown;

• Shell Oil Products US is receiving another $271,720 to install four single-port, 180-kilowatt chargers for four parking spaces at a second Shell station, this one at 998 E. Western Reserve Road, Youngstown;

• Pilot Travel Centers is in line for $203,240 to install two dual-port, 350-kilowatt chargers and one single-port, 100-kilowatt charger to serve four parking spaces at Pilot Flying J Travel Center Store 11, 10920 Market St., North Lima.

Funding for the grants comes from dollars allocated to Ohio from the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Fund, which resulted from a lawsuit that claimed VW installed devices on certain vehicles from 2009 to 2016 that made vehicles appear to be complaint with emissions standards, when in fact they were not.

It’s happening as the auto industry is undertaking a massive shift away from gasoline-powered vehicles to electric vehicles, pulling consumers along for the ride.

The U.S. government also is helping light the way with the U.S. Department of Transportation announcing at the end of September that all 50 states have received final approval to start construction on a nationwide network of EV charging stations.

The plan is to place one roughly every 50 miles along interstate highways.

Final approval of the last remaining stations triggered the release of $1.5 billion in federal funds to all jurisdictions nationwide — or $5 billion over five years — to install or upgrade chargers along 75,000 miles of highway from coast to coast, with a goal of 500,000 EV chargers nationwide.

Construction of new EV charging locations in the U.S. network could begin by next spring.

The U.S. government also will provide an additional $2.5 billion for local grants to fill remaining gaps in the charging network in rural areas and in disadvantaged communities, which are less likely to own the higher-priced electric vehicles or have charging stations readily available near them. The Federal Highway Administration said last month it will begin taking applications for that money later this year.

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