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Nonprofit receives grant, begins Central Oregon equitable electric vehicle planning effort

Nonprofit seeks partnerships to create effective charging network for electric vehicles

(Update: Adding video, comments from 350 Deschutes Executive Director Diane Hodiak)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Central Oregon nonprofit 350 Deschutes said Tuesday it will use an $85,000 planning grant from Pacific Power to support equity in the planning and access to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure throughout Central Oregon.

"When we see the climate impacts across our communities, from flooding to extreme weather to wildfires, addressing transportation and getting clear transpositions, reducing the emissions that are pretty much a third of our emissions in Central Oregon," 350 Deschutes Executive Director Diane Hodiak told NewsChannel 21 Tuesday. "That will make a big difference.

"In our view, an effective charging network is one that meets the needs of all people -- people who might be in underserved communities that maybe have less income to contribute to transportation, as well as the wealthy."

In a news release, Hodiak shared the following:

“To support electrification in transportation, there is an abundance of grants, rebates, and incentives available now and coming soon. One barrier is having staff available to identify all of these resources, secure technical assistance, and develop plans. We hope to bring people together and make it easier for them. People will work towards developing an effective charging network throughout Central Oregon, including rural, underserved areas," says Diane Hodiak, executive director of 350 Deschutes.

“We want to invite any nonprofit, individual, government, electric cooperatives, schools, or businesses to participate in the PPEV planning group (Pacific Power Electric Vehicle Planning Group)"

As a result of Pacific Power’s generosity, this planning will be free of charge to everyone. Visit to register. The planning group will review the huge incentives coming to Oregon as a result of the bipartisan Infrastructure Agreement and Inflation Reduction Act. This will fund charging along the main corridors of Highways 97, 26 and 20.

Meetings will be on Zoom and will start in March or April and continue for several months. Topics are likely to include car share, funders and incentives, potential business partners, siting of DC Fast Chargers, tools, and maintenance, site design for fleets, commercial and residential, and mobility hubs, to name a few.

Businesses may want to attend to offer a site, in exchange for a platform for bringing customers in, or as a public service. Or they may be interested in learning about how to put together an electric fleet, with charging infrastructure.

Hodiak said she expects that there may be valuable partnerships that result from this joint planning effort.

The time for electric vehicles is now, whether it’s a light duty car, a bus, van, or fleet of medium duty vehicles to be used by schools, police stations, cities, or counties. There are many utilities, cooperatives, governments, and agencies that are now offering incentives.

The PPEV planning group will identify many of these to get businesses and governments started, along with similar support to individuals. Individuals are already taking advantage of the state of Oregon cash incentives up to $5,000 for the purchase or lease of an electric or hybrid vehicle.

Through the unprecedented Inflation Reduction Act, the federal government offers an additional $7,500 for a new vehicle, or $4,000 or up to 30% of the price for a used vehicle.  The income cap to be eligible for the used EV credit is $75,000 for single filers, $112,500 for head of household and $150,000 for joint filers.

Visit,EV%20tax%20credit%20for%20used%20vehicles,price%20(whichever%20is%20lower) for a full description. 

But Hodiak states that the cost and access to electric vehicle charging is holding some communities back. The PPEV planning group hopes to find solutions to overcoming these barriers for underserved communities. They will make final recommendation via a white paper at the end of the planning period. 

Article Topic Follows: Environment
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Bola Gbadebo

Bola Gbadebo is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Bola here.


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