The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) has notified the city of Las Cruces that is was selected to receive $150,000 as part of the Volkswagen (VW) settlement with the federal government. The money, which will be used for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, will constitute 64% of the total needed by the City for the project. According to the NMED, the VW Settlement Steering Committee selected the City of Las Cruces to receive the funds.
“This is great news for our community, especially during these challenging economic times,” said Interim City Manager David Maestas. “The fact that Las Cruces will receive VW Settlement funds is a testament to the staff in our Grants Administration, Sustainability Office, and Public Works Department who submitted for and actively pursued this funding.” NMED reports that a formal announcement naming the City of Las Cruces a recipient of the funding will be made later this week.
The City anticipates installing seven to eight Level 2 dual charging pedestals at various City properties. The stations will be linked to popular EV charging apps reporting location, wait time and costs. EV owners will pay for the charging service, which costs less than $3 for 200 miles of service.
“When comparing lifetime costs of internal combustible engine vehicles to electric vehicles (i.e., taxes, insurance, maintenance, fuel and depreciation) electric vehicles are already more affordable than traditional options,” said Lisa LaRocque, Sustainability Officer for the City of Las Cruces. “Considering 53 percent of Las Cruces’ current carbon footprint is caused from transportation, moving to EV’s is the way to safeguard our future.”
According to the NMED, $4.6 million will be awarded across 43 projects throughout New Mexico from the Volkswagen Settlement fund. This round of settlement funding was available for projects involving electric vehicles, alternate-fueled vehicles, and light-duty zero emission vehicle (LDZEV) supply equipment. The selected projects will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by more than 40 tons in urban, rural, and Native communities in New Mexico. These projects will efficiently and cost-effectively reduce NOx emissions in areas of New Mexico where residents bear a disproportionate share of NOx pollution and in areas that are nearing the 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ground-level ozone.
The settlement, in three distinct parts, resolves allegations that Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act (“CAA”) by the sale of approximately 590,000 model year 2009 to 2016 diesel motor vehicles equipped with defeat devices designed to cheat on federal emissions tests.