The government wants to make EV ownership a more practical proposition.
The Biden-Harris Administration announced yesterday that more than two-thirds of EV charging infrastructure plans have been approved ahead of time, under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program (NEVI). These states, along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, will receive more than $900 million in funding in the coming financial years.
This sizeable investment will go towards the building, maintenance, and support of new electric vehicle chargers across approximately 53,000 miles of highway. "We are taking an important step to [building] a nationwide electric vehicle charging network where finding a charge is as easy as locating a gas station," remarked Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
He added, "With the first set of approvals we are announcing today, 35 states across the country - with Democratic and Republican governors - will be moving forward to use these funds to install EV chargers at regular, reliable intervals along their highways." The funding forms part of the greater Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which also aims to make American roads safer through infrastructure improvements.
As per a Department of Transportation statement, the law will make $5 billion available over five years and hopes to build a "convenient, reliable, and affordable" network of chargers. This follows a recent announcement from The White House which stated the government's intention to build 500,000 charging stations across the United States by 2030.
The Biden Administration is betting big on electric vehicles and recently introduced the Inflation Reduction Act. Through this piece of legislation, the US government is hoping to make EVs more appealing through incentives - but there are limitations. Only some vehicles, such as the Tesla Model 3, are eligible for the $7,500 credit.
Owing to their hefty price tags, certain vehicles may be disqualified. The push for mass adoption of electric vehicles comes as the government looks at improving the environment and lessening the country's "dependence on oil and gas," explains Secretary of Energy, Jennifer M. Granholm.
Granholm also explained that the approved EV infrastructure spending will create more convenience for EV drivers in the future. "This first group of 35 plans from States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico now have the green light to build their pieces of the national charging network to ensure drivers can spend less on transportation costs while commuting confidently by charging along the way," added the Energy Secretary.
The 35 approved states include California, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, and Washington. The selected regions can now be reimbursed for costs related to existing plans, use the funds to upgrade and maintain existing infrastructure, or build new stations.
For many would-be EV owners, difficulties associated with charging remains the biggest hindrance. A study conducted earlier this year revealed that many public charging points were in varying states of disrepair. In the San Francisco Bay area alone, a staggering 23% of chargers were broken.
Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said the quick action of state leaders put the plan ahead of schedule. "We are reviewing the remaining plans and [are] on track to finish the process by our target date of September 30, if not sooner. Our shared work to bring President Biden's vision for a national electric vehicle network to communities across America is too important to wait."
The federal government itself is hoping to replace aging ICE vehicles with newer, cleaner electric vehicles. In fact, by 2035, President Biden hopes to have 600,000 EVs in the federal fleet. Whether this happens remains to be seen, but we hope the country's energy reserves are ready to deal with the swift uptake of electric vehicles.
California recently gave us a glimpse of the future, as the state urged EV owners not to charge their vehicles during peak hours. The electricity demand is only set to climb in the coming years so, hopefully, provisions will be put in place.