Maryland Bill to Fix Past EV Tax Credit Funding Gap

Maryland Capitol
Electric vehicle buyers in Maryland that missed out on getting a state excise tax credit in fiscal year 2017 because the program had depleted its funds, may get that money after all if a bill sponsored by Senator Roger Manno passes.

Maryland SB177 would allow a credit against the excise tax imposed for a plug–in electric vehicle if an application for the credit was filed during fiscal year 2017 (7/1/2016 to 6/30/2017) but the credit was not allowed due to a limitation on the total amount of credits that may be allowed each fiscal year.

The funds devoted to the Maryland Electric Vehicle Excise Tax Credit program have usually been depleted before the end of recent fiscal years. Funds for fiscal year 2017 were depleted by September, 2016. Normally, the tax credits would be applied retroactively when funds were released at the beginning of the next fiscal year.
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Update on Virginia Charging Station Bill HB922 by Del. David Bulova

Manassas City EV Charging

We reached out to Virginia Delegate David Bulova of Fairfax County who has introduced bill HB922 that would give authority required under Dillon’s Rule to enable local governments, state universities, community colleges, and parks to operate retail fee-based electric vehicle charging stations. It also exempts localities that own or operate fee-based EV charging stations from being considered a public utility or service company under Virginia regulations.

As introduced, Virginia HB922 would require the charging stations to be restricted to employees and authorized visitors only. However, that restriction could be removed from the bill according to the sponsor. HB922 would amend a law passed in 2017 that gives authority to school boards to operate retail fee-based EV charging stations on their property. § 22.1-131.

We had a few questions that we posed to Delegate Bulova who kindly responded. His answers are highlighted in red below.

Questions and Answers On HB922 with Delegate Bulova

1. Is this bill simply to give enabling authority to localities to install fee-based EV charging stations pursuant to the Dillon Rule or is there another purpose or purposes?

Correct, because of the Dillon Rule, local governments need authorization from the General Assembly to install fee-based EV charging stations. This bill not only provides this authority to local governments, but also state universities, community colleges, and parks.
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Electrify America EV Infrastructure Update – January 2018

EVgo Electrify America
On June 22, 2017, Electrify America announced that they had installed their first EV charging stations at eight locations in the Washington, DC area. These dual-port CCS/CHAdeMO chargers were upgrades to existing stations in Maryland and Virginia placed in cooperation with EVgo.

Electrify America was set up by Volkswagen to fund and administer a planned $2 billion investment in electric vehicle infrastructure and awareness projects as part of settlements with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board over allegations of cheating on its diesel vehicle emissions tests.

Electrify America Chargers 2017
The June announcement stated that 50 stations were to open in 10 cities by September. To date, 32 stations have been installed in five cities with one more to be finished soon according to figures supplied to PlugInSites by Electrify America.

These 33 fast chargers will complete this stage of the project instead of the planned 50.
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Blink Charging Co. Files for Public Offering

Blink Charging Company SEC
Blink Charging Company has filed a registration statement (Form S-1) with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a public offering. The Registration Statement was filed with the SEC on January 11, 2018.

Blink’s stock is presently quoted on the OTC Pink Current Information Marketplace under the symbol “CCGI”. According to the SEC filing, Blink’s common stock was quoted as $5.25 on January 10, 2018. They have applied to be listed on The NASDAQ under the symbol “BLNK”.
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Virginia EV Charging Station Bill Introduced – HB922

City of Manassas, VA EV charging station
City of Manassas, VA EV charging station. photo: @Lanny

Electric vehicle charging stations; local and public operation. Virginia HB922

Virginia Delegate David Bulova of Fairfax County has introduced a bill in the 2018 Virginia General Assembly that would authorize any locality, state park or public institution of higher learning to operate retail fee-based electric vehicle charging stations on their property.

If passed, Virginia HB922 would require the fee-based charging stations at those locations to have signs that restrict their use to employees and authorized visitors only.

HB922 would exempt the affected public institutions that own or operate EV charging stations from being considered a public utility or service company under Virginia regulations. Read More …

Virginia EV Tax Credit Proposed – Up to $3,500

Del. David Reid of Loudoun County will introduce House Bill 469 when the 2018 session of the Virginia General Assembly opens on Wednesday, January 10 in Richmond.

Virginia bill HB469 would establish a tax credit of 10 percent of the price of an electric vehicle purchase or lease. The credit is not to exceed $3,500 per taxpayer. If the credit exceeds the taxpayer’s tax liability for the taxable year, the unused credit may be carried forward for up to three years.

The state EV tax credits would remain in effect until 20 percent of vehicles registered in Virginia are electric or taxable year 2023, whichever occurs first. Read More …

ChargePoint v. SemaConnect Lawsuit Moving Quickly

CP v SC Court Doc

A federal judge in Baltimore has formally denied a request from ChargePoint for a temporary restraining order that would have prevented a competing EV charging company, SemaConnect, from selling equipment while a patent infringement claim is pursued.

ChargePoint Emergency Request Denied

ChargePoint claims in court documents that SemaConnect is infringing on a number of U. S. patents that they own. At a hearing on December, 22, 2017, ChargePoint asked United States District Judge, Marvin J. Garbis, of the U. S. District Court in Baltimore for Emergency Injunctive Relief. They told the judge that “irreparable harm” was being caused by a contract SemaConnect won to install approximately 1,400 charging stations for VW subsidiary Electrify America.

In a written memorandum and order issued on Thursday, December 28, 2017, Judge Garbis wrote, “the Court shall DENY Plaintiff’s motion.”

The memorandum also said that the defendant,  SemaConnect, will be allowed to file a motion to dismiss using the defense that the patents are invalid under the so-called “Alice test.” The judge stated that the motion to dismiss based on invalidity would be promptly resolved. If SemaConnect’s motion to dismiss is denied, Judge Garbis wrote that he intended to move the process quickly with a scheduling order for expedited discovery and trial.
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Maryland Solar EV Charging Grants Awarded

Solar Canopy EV charging station

The Maryland Energy Administration announced the recipients of their Solar Canopy with Electric Vehicle Charger Program grants for Fiscal Year 2018.

The MEA parking lot PV/EV program took applications from businesses, non-profits, state agencies and local governments for funding of up to $200,000 per project. To be eligible for the grant, plans must include at least 75 kW of solar PV panels mounted to a canopy structure over a parking lot and at least four Level 2 charging stations or DC Fast Chargers. The solar canopies must also be located on parking lots that are in use at least five days per week.

Solar Canopy with 20 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Nine grants are being awarded in the MEA parking lot PV/EV Program. One of the recipients, McCormick and Company will install a 744-kilowatt solar canopy at their new headquarters in Baltimore. The McCormick project plans to include 20 EV charging stations, which is the greatest number of EV charging stations for an individual MEA grant supported solar canopy in the history of the program.

Mary Beth Tung, Director of the Maryland Energy Administration said, “This program was carefully crafted to combine clean energy generation, and expand EV charging options for drivers.” The 2018 grantees have the potential to supply 6,000 kilowatts of renewable solar power, and add 60 new EV charging stations to Maryland’s charging infrastructure.

The MEA solar canopy grant program began in 2014 and has helped to fund 25 projects to date. Funding for the grants will come from the Strategic Energy Investment Fund, which was created from public auctions of carbon credits through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

The Grant Agreement Execution Deadline is January 5, 2018. All projects must be completed and operating by November 16, 2018. One of the awardees was Charles County which had submitted plans for Solar City/Tesla Energy to build a 1,741 kW solar canopy and four EV charging stations at the Charles County Administration Building in La Plata, MD. Read More …

ChargePoint v. SemaConnect Hearing on Dec. 22, 2017

Update in the ChargePoint v. SemaConnect Patent Case

There was a hearing today in the ChargePoint v. SemaConnect patent lawsuit in US District Court in Baltimore. I was able to attend the hearing, which was open to the public.

ChargePoint’s legal counsel argued vigorously in support of their Motion for Emergency Injunctive Relief, asserting that “irreparable harm” was being caused by SemaConnect’s participation in the Electrify America program to install hundreds of charging stations that ChargePoint alleges infringes on patents that they hold.

The judge expressed concern that issuing an order for SemaConnect to stop would cause irreparable harm to SemaConnect. The judge also said he was concerned that by ordering SemaConnect to stop, the American public would be denied access to 1,440 EV charging stations that SemaConnect plans to install with Electrify America and that’s not in the public’s interest.
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SemaConnect Fights Back in ChargePoint Lawsuit

SemaConnect ChargePro EVSE
SemaConnect is fighting back against a patent claim lawsuit brought by rival EV charging company, ChargePoint. A lawyer for the Maryland-based SemaConnect, Inc. sent a letter to U. S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis saying that ChargePoint’s Motion For Emergency Injunctive Relief should be summarily denied. A hearing on the Motion is scheduled in U. S. District Court in Baltimore on Friday, December 22, 2017.

In correspondence to the Judge, SemaConnect’s representative stated, “At its core, ChargePoint’s Motion is an obvious attempt to restrain free and fair competition by asserting baseless patent infringement claims against SemaConnect instead of competing fairly in the market.”

SemaConnect & ChargePoint Competed for Electrify America Contract

SemaConnect argued that granting the injunctive relief would harm the public’s interest because it would delay the deployment of hundreds of EV charging stations around the country that would help reduce carbon emissions. In the document, SemaConnect explained that in March 2017, Electrify America invited suppliers of EV charging stations to submit a request for proposal (RFP) for a contract to provide “community charging stations” to be financed under the $2 billion ZEV Investment Plan mandated by a settlement with Volkswagon. Companies including SemaConnect and ChargePoint, submitted RFPs for the contract. Electrify America ultimately chose three companies: SemaConnect, Greenlots, and EVConnect. However, ChargePoint was not selected and did not receive any funding.
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