In July 2016, Volkswagen (VW) agreed to a multiple-part settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency as a result of the installation of ‘defeat devices’ on their diesel engines in violation of the Clean Air Act. This settlement will deliver the clean air promise VW failed to meet, and provides a huge opportunity for Southeast to expand upon the rapidly growing electric vehicle infrastructure in the region. There are two key programs of that settlement that offer emissions reduction opportunities for states:


1. Zero Emissions Investment Commitment - $2 billion:


VW will spend $2 billion over 10 years on actions that will support increased use of zero emission vehicle (ZEV) technology in the U.S. VW will administer the program. The investments will include three primary areas of focus:


  1. Investing in EV charging infrastructure (which includes the design, planning, construction, installation, operation and maintenance)

  2. The development of brand-neutral education and public outreach campaigns to increase awareness about EVs

  3. Programs that will increase public exposure or access to ZEVs


VW will updated the investment plan every 30 months. Draft plans for the first 30-month plan is already underway, but VW will be taking suggestions and projects over the course of the 10 years. To learn more and to submit a proposal for these funds visit: electrifyamerica.com


2. Environmental Mitigation Trust Agreement - $2.7 billion:


The purpose of these funds is to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions where VW diesels operated. Funds are allocated among beneficiaries (states, tribes, and certain territories) based on the number of impacted VW vehicles in their jurisdictions. The Southeast will receive more than $427 million:

Eligible projects include:

  • Replacing or repowering older diesel engines (large trucks, buses, freight switchers, ferries/tugs, medium trucks, etc.) with new diesel, alternate fueled engines, or all-electric engines

  • Replacing diesel vehicles with new, alternate fueled, or all-electric vehicles  

  • Installing charging infrastructure for light-duty electric vehicles (up to 15% of the funds can be spent on this)


Once the Trust Effective Date is established, states will have 60 days to file a Certification Form in order to become a beneficiary and receive settlement funds. The Office of the Governor designate a "lead agency," to be in charge of funds.   To see what each state is doing please click on the links below:


The state of Tennessee has identified the Tennessee Department and Environment and Conservation (TDEC) as the lead agency. TDEC released the State of Tennessee’s Proposed Beneficiary Mitigation Plan (proposed BMP). The plan prioritizes buses (60%) and investments in light-duty charging infrastructure (the maximum 15% allowed). Once the BMP is finalized, TDEC will release funding opportunity announcements and/or project solicitations for programs. TDEC also plans to host workshops throughout the state and/or webinars to engage the public and provide relevant information about the proposal process, eligibility requirements, timelines for implementation and reporting requirements. The first anticipated project solicitation will occur in the third calendar quarter of 2018. To receive notifications regarding TDEC’s public outreach efforts, sign up for the TDEC VW Environmental Mitigation Trust email list here.

North Carolina

Governor Roy Cooper has designated N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to manage North Carolina’s share of the Volkswagen (VW) Settlement. North Carolina concluded public comment on their Proposed BMP in May 2018 and released their Final Plan on August 22, 2018. North Carolina will receive $92 million in funding. North Carolina’s Plan includes 40% for school bus replacements - but only 5% on all-electric, the lion’s share going to ‘clean diesel’. It also calls for 20% to be dedicated to transit bus replacements, 20% for heavy-duty on-road and off-road replacement projects, and 15% for EV charging equipment. North Carolina is approaching the BMP allocation as a series of three phases and this plan is only for Phase 1. Phase 1 will spend 33% of the overall funds ($30.68 million dollars) and run from 2018 – 2020. Phase 2 will spend another 33% from 2020-2022 and Phase 3 the remaining 33% from 2022-2024.

South Carolina

Governor Henry McMaster has selected the South Carolina Department of Insurance (DOI) as the lead agency charged with distributing the State’s Environmental Mitigation Trust funding of $33.8 million. South Carolina’s Draft BMP was released on April 2018 followed by a 45 day public input period for written comments. On July 25, the DOI released a Second Draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan. Their Second BMP allocates 80% of funds for school, shuttle, and transit bus replacements (diesel, alternative fuel or all-electric) and 10% for EV charging equipment. The 30 day comment period for this plan ended on August 24, 2018. To receive updates you can be notified by going to https://doi.sc.gov/list.aspx.   


The Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (OPB) is the lead agency charged with the development of Georgia’s Plan and allocation of funds. They released their Final BMP in January 2018 following a public comment period which ended on January 5, 2018. Georgia’s allocation of $63.6 million dollars does not carve out the maximum 15% for EV charging stations, instead devotes 100% of the money for transitioning their buses to clean diesel or electric buses. “Two projects have been tentatively selected to receive funding from the State Trust: new diesel and all-electric transit buses for the State Road and Tollway Authority’s (SRTA) Xpress system, and new all-electric terminal-to-terminal transit buses serving Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (HJA). Funding for the HJA all-electric transit buses will include charging infrastructure.”

Florida designated the Department of Environment Protection (DEP) to be the lead agency that will distribute the state’s $166 million dollar portion of the EMT funding.  They have also created a subscription page to sign up to receive email updates.  The Draft Mitigation Plan was released in July 2019. The plan calls for the full 15% carveout for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, 15% for DERA funds and 70% for school, transit and shuttle buses. 

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SACE, with our partners, have submitted the following letters to the lead state agencies with our recommendations on the development of their Volkswagen Beneficiary Mitigation plans.  As additional letters are submitted, we will update the website.

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TN Letter

NC Letter 2

NC Letter 1

SC Letter 1

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SC Letter 2

GA Letter

FL Letter

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FL Letter 2

To stay up to date on how each state is managing the funds, visit the National Association of State Energy Officials and National Association of Clean Air Agencies website here.

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© 2021 Electrify the South

a program of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

P.O. Box 1842
Knoxville, TN 37901