EV Stations Spark New Era of Transportation in Mahoning County

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Five locations across Mahoning County will receive a total of $132,298 from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency in order to develop electric-vehicle charging stations, the agency announced Monday.

The city of Youngstown received two grants of $30,000 apiece to install charging stations at a parking lot along Fifth Avenue and at another lot along Federal Street downtown where the Kress Building once stood, according to the Ohio EPA.

Another $30,000 was awarded to the Western Reserve Transit Authority to develop three charging stations at its administration building along Mahoning Avenue in Youngstown.

St. Elizabeth Hospital Youngstown was awarded $27,298 toward new charging stations there, while Taylor Kia of Boardman secured a $15,000 grant to build an EV charging station at its dealership in Boardman.

Dean Harris, executive director of WRTA, said that the charging stations could be installed by the summer. The public transportation service intends to install three stations that can accommodate two vehicles each.

“All of them will be free and open to the public during business hours,” he said.

Harris said WRTA submitted a grant application to the EPA because it intends to move its bus fleet to an all-electrical platform in the future. While the stations aren’t large enough to charge a bus, they can easily charge passenger vehicles, he said.

Despite a cluster of activity related to EV development in Lordstown– fueled by Ultium Cells LLC’s construction of a new $2.3 billion battery plant and Lordstown Motors Corp.’s production of the all-electric Endurance pickup truck – no awards were allocated to Trumbull County, according to information provided from the Ohio EPA.

Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill said that he presented the idea of submitting an application to some members of the village council, but it didn’t receive sufficient support.

“I bounced it off them and it just didn’t gain any traction,” he said.

A separate round of grant funding for fast-charging stations is planned for later this year, the Ohio EPA said. The agency will also be funding an electric school bus pilot project.

The Ohio EPA awarded $3.25 million toward the installation of more than 500 electric-vehicle charging ports at more than 170 sites across 22 counties.

Funding was made available through the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Fund. Private and public entities in 26 counties were eligible to apply for the grants, which provide full or partial funding for the electric charging stations.

The Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Fund resulted from a federal lawsuit that alleged Volkswagen AG installed defect devices on certain vehicles covering model years 2009 through 2016. The devices activated during emissions testing made vehicles appear to be compliant with the law, when in fact, during on-road operation, the vehicles emitted nine to 40 times the allowable amount of nitrogen oxides, a harmful air pollutant.

Per a court settlement, funds were distributed to states based on the number of registered vehicles that contained the illegal devices.

Pictured: Western Reserve Transit Authority received $30,000 to develop three charging stations at its administration building along Mahoning Avenue in Youngstown.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.