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CNM Receives Grant to Install New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations on Campus

The money comes from the Volkswagen clean air civil settlement
CNM Receives Grant to Install New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations on Campus
An existing electric vehicle charging station on CNM's Main campus.

Apr 28, 2020

Back in 2015 Volkswagen was found to have used devices that helped nearly 600,000 of their diesel vehicles cheat on federal emissions tests here in the United States. That cheating created an excess of the pollutant nitrogen oxide (NOX).

More recently, a civil enforcement case against Volkswagen for those violations resulted in the Volkswagen Settlement Fund, which provides money for projects involving electric vehicles (EV), alternate-fueled vehicles, and light-duty zero emission vehicle (ZEV) supply equipment.

Now, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) is distributing $4.6 million worth of that fund across 43 projects throughout the state in an effort to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX) by more than 40 tons in urban, rural, and Native American communities. Nearly $20,000 was awarded to CNM so the college could purchase two new commercial electric vehicle charging stations with two ports each so that four EVs can be charged at one time. 

“With this action, we hope to both reduce the city’s contribution to climate change and reduce other pollutants associated with traditional vehicles,” says Molly Blumhoefer, CNM’s Sustainability Project Manager who led CNM’s Volkswagen grant project. 

Both stations—which will offer free charging to anyone—are set to be installed in the Smith Brasher Hall lot on Main Campus, west of the Marketplace @ CNM, CNM’s new retail space that’s going in along University Boulevard. That project—which is scheduled to be completed in August, pending COVID-19 delays—is a 16,502 square-foot, three-story building that will contain the CNM Bookstore, Starbucks, a Grab ‘n Go, and a CNM multipurpose space. The infrastructure for the stations is expected to be ready when the building is completed.

The stations will also help the Marketplace @ CNM project achieve more points that go towards Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. That’s important because all public buildings over 15,000 square feet, either newly constructed or renovated, are required to achieve a minimum rating of LEED Silver. Many new buildings and renovations across CNM have already received a silver rating or higher. 

“By installing charging stations, CNM is supporting community-wide sustainability by providing more options to those who already have electric vehicles, and this will encourage more people to purchase electric vehicles,” Molly says.