Minnesota Approves Comprehensive Statewide Electric Vehicle Readiness Assistance

May 30, 2023 | | Policy

Budget deals significantly elevate state’s effort to expand transportation electrification


May 24, 2023, MINNEAPOLIS—Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has signed into law a sweeping set of first-time incentives and other funding approved by the state legislature that significantly elevates the state’s efforts to expand transportation electrification.

This includes landmark state grants that will supplement federal investments to build out Minnesota’s electric vehicle (EV) charging network, consumer rebates toward purchasing EVs, assistance to dealerships selling those EVs, and investments toward purchasing electric school buses and in the power utility sector.

“Taken together, these investments put Minnesota on the map as a serious investor in our electric transportation future,” said Brendan Jordan, vice president for Transportation and Fuels at the Great Plains Institute. “While Minnesota’s EV adoption rate has comparatively lagged due to insufficient investment, this new level of state support will transform Minnesota into a regional and perhaps national leader in the EV adoption effort.”

Drive Electric Minnesota, a diverse coalition of advocates for accelerating EV adoption and equitable statewide charging infrastructure, lobbied for several key provisions state lawmakers included in 2024 energy, climate, and transportation omnibus budget deals.

That includes $216.4 million in state matching funds to attract additional private investment and supplement new federal transportation electrification investments, including building out the statewide charging network needed to support widespread EV adoption.

“This important investment will boost range confidence, increase access to electricity as a transportation fuel, and accelerate transportation electrification throughout Minnesota,” said Ingrid Malmgren, policy director at Plug In America.

State lawmakers also approved $13.6 million in additional matching funds to help Minnesota effectively implement upcoming support through the federal National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program to establish a statewide EV infrastructure program.

“These new programs—especially Minnesota’s commitment to matching federal investments in EV infrastructure—will put the state’s deployment of charging infrastructure into hyperdrive,” said Jena Ginsburg, public policy manager at ChargePoint. “Everyone from individual drivers to business owners and fleet operators will now have the incentives they need to drive EV adoption in Minnesota forward. We look forward to working with Minnesotans as they embrace our electric mobility future.”

Minnesota consumers will receive $15.716 million in first-time rebates for purchasing EVs, joining Illinois as one of two such EV rebate programs in the Midwest. The rebates are limited to new vehicles with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $55,000 or below and to used vehicles that sell for $25,000 and below.

Minnesota auto dealerships will also receive $2 million in one-time grants to offset the significant infrastructure investments necessary to sell EVs.

“Before they can even sell an electric vehicle, dealers must invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in charging stations and new equipment,” said Amber Backhaus, vice president of Public Affairs at the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association. “These grants will expedite the transition to having EVs available to consumers in dealerships across the state.”

Minnesota legislators approved $13 million for school districts to purchase and maintain electric buses and charging infrastructure.

Lawmakers are also requiring Minnesota’s public electric utilities to file transportation electrification plans with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that will promote EV adoption among their customers. Utilities have an important role to play in the transition to EVs, including by increasing access to EV charging, educating their customers about EVs and EV infrastructure, and ensuring new charging load is integrated efficiently on the grid.

“This legislation creates a helpful framework for utility transportation electrification planning to benefit our customers and communities, as we’ve seen in other states in our service area,” said Nadia El Mallakh, vice president of Clean Transportation at Xcel Energy. “Xcel Energy supports the state’s 2030 EV adoption goal because we know this will deliver cleaner air for everyone and significant fuel cost savings. We look forward to continuing our work with the Commission in bringing forth new and enhanced electric vehicle charging programs and expanded high-speed public charging options that make charging at home and on-the-go easy, fast and more affordable for all customers.”

Minnesota state agencies will now also give preference to EVs when purchasing new vehicles for their fleets, which helps the state move the needle toward achieving its goal to electrify 20 percent of the state fleet by 2027. And lawmakers are requiring an EV tax and registration study to help come up with solutions to roadway funding challenges and to calculate fair EV taxes relative to drivers of conventional vehicles.

“We hope this is just the beginning of the state’s investment spurring Minnesota’s transition into a national leader in EV readiness,” Jordan said. “Minnesota, and the Midwest at large, are perfectly suited to showcase how EVs can be financially and environmentally sustainable and bring together a broad range of economic leaders committed to cleaner air, greater energy independence, and reducing transportation costs.”

About Drive Electric Minnesota

Facilitated by the Great Plains Institute, Drive Electric Minnesota is a partnership of Minnesota’s EV champions dedicated to encouraging the deployment of EVs and the establishment of EV charging infrastructure through public-private partnerships, financial incentives, education, technical support, and public policy. We believe EVs are an important component of energy efficiency and cleaner transportation in Minnesota that is both financially and environmentally sustainable. Advancing EV deployment will have many benefits to Minnesotans, including reduced transportation costs, cleaner air, and energy independence.


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