Biden launches $5 billion plan to shore up national EV charging network

The Biden administration announced a five-year $5 billion plan to bolster the country’s patchy electric vehicle charging network, using funds approved as part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill signed last year.

The funds represent a broader effort by President Biden’s administration to reduce carbon emissions and combat human-caused climate change. Despite an increase in electric vehicle sales in recent years, at least 25 percent of all CO2 emissions come from the transport sector, the majority of which is represented by tailpipe emissions.

Congress approved $7.5 billion for EV charging infrastructure as part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, $5 billion of which will be available to states to build a “network of EV charging stations along designated alternative fuel corridors, particularly along the Interstate Highway.” System”, to create. said. Alternative fuel corridors, as defined by the Federal Highway Administration, comprise approximately 165,722 miles of the National highway systemcovering 49 states and the District of Columbia.

“Network of EV charging stations along designated alternative fuel corridors”

Under the plan, called the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program, states must submit their requests to the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation by Aug. 1. The Federal Highway Administration will approve eligible plans on September 30, with $615 million available in fiscal year 2022.

A second competitive grant program “designed to further increase access to electric vehicle charging in locations across the country, including rural and underserved communities,” will be announced later this year, the administration said.

“It’s going to make America the global leader in electric vehicles,” the president said during a speech earlier this week to promote US companies expanding EV infrastructure in the US. “China has led the race so far, but this is going to change,” Biden said. “Because America is building convenient, reliable and equitable national public charging networks. So wherever you live, charging an electric vehicle is quick and easy.”

There are approximately 41,000 public charging stations in the United States, with more than 100,000 outlets. But it can be a bit of a scavenger hunt to find one that actually works or isn’t locked in a gated parking garage.

The charging experience in the US is intensely fragmented, especially for people who don’t own a Tesla. While Tesla’s Supercharger network has been praised for its seamless user experience and fast charging capabilities, the opposite seems to be true for pretty much everyone else.

The money approved for a nationwide network of EV chargers would have a measurable impact on Americans’ car buying choices

Urban policy and electrification experts have said the money approved for a nationwide network of EV chargers would have a measurable impact on Americans’ auto-buying choices. A more reliable charging network is likely to help boost EV sales in the US over the next decade.

That said, the types of chargers being built are likely to raise questions about the government’s desire to quickly move Americans to electric vehicles. Not only will it take a while to build out that many chargers, but the bulk of what gets built will likely be of the “Level 2” variety, which can top up about 40 miles of battery capacity per hour. That means EV buyers in the US will have to get used to the idea of ​​drinking electrons while on the road and doing most of their charging at home.

The infrastructure law does allow money to go to new DC Fast charging stations. (The same goes for hydrogen filling stations.) But Level 2 chargers are much cheaper to build and install, meaning the government can get more for less. Level 2 chargers cost just a few thousand dollars to get into the ground, while faster chargers from 150 kW to 350 kW can be 50 to 100 times more expensive.

Biden also recently signed an executive order to swap federal government vehicles for US-made electric vehicles. The second part of his plan to boost mass adoption of electric vehicles is to offer generous tax breaks, which are currently stalled as part of the Build Back Better plan.

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