Last week, President Joe Biden’s administration revealed a plan to give $5 billion to states to fund public charging stations for electric vehicles. According to CNBC, this funding, which is part of the administration’s infrastructure package, will help states introduce charging stations over the next five years.
During a press briefing, administration officials said these stations would create a network across the entire country for electric vehicles.
According to CNBC, the United States has the world’s third-largest market for electric vehicles, behind China and Europe. The consulting firm Alix Partners predicts around 24% of new vehicles worldwide will be fully electric by the year 2030.
“It’s going to help ensure that America leads the world on electric vehicles,” President Biden said in a speech last week to promote EV infrastructure. “China has been leading the race up to now, but this is about to change. Because America is building convenient, reliable, equitable national public charging networks. So wherever you live, charging an electric vehicle will be quick and easy.”
The new plan, the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program, requires all states to have their EV infrastructure plans submitted by August 1, CNBC reported. The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) will approve all eligible plans by September 30, with the FHA issuing approval by September 30. States that do not submit a plan risk having the money withheld, or given to local governments.
According to the formula used by the Federal Highway Administration to distribute the funds, larger states will receive a larger share, with Texas receiving an estimated $407 million.
According to President Biden, the program is expected to save electric car drivers an average of one thousand dollars on gasoline each year.
During a speech on February 10, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said, “We’re not going to go electric fast enough if we don’t have the ability to eliminate range anxiety for people and to be able to have them plug in wherever they live, wherever they work, wherever they want to head.”
The EV infrastructure plan includes an additional $2.5 billion, and administration officials have stated they will reveal guidance for it later in the year. According to CNBC, it will include grants for community and corridor EV charging.
The senior vice president of political affairs for the Environmental Defense Fund, Elizabeth Gore, said in response, “This announcement demonstrates that clean energy investments deliver for America.”
She continued, “Building out a national network of charging stations will mean less pollution, more jobs and cleaner cars. It will also allow more Americans to skip paying at the pump by making electric vehicles a practical choice for more working families.”
Joel Levin, an executive director for the group Plug In America, expressed concern when the Senate’s infrastructure bill was first introduced that the funding it allocates for charging stations would not be enough.
Last August, Levin told Autoweek, “The current level of $5 billion for EV charging in the Senate infrastructure bill will not provide the charging network that the public needs to drive electric with confidence.”
He added, “Imagine how comfortable you’d feel driving with gasoline if we took out two-thirds of the gas stations.”
The amount of funding in the plan was not increased.
Though the Biden administration says the investment is the largest of its kind, it makes up a small portion of what it would cost for the U.S. to ensure 100% of vehicle sales were electric cars by 2035. According to some estimates, construction of a public charging system will run $39 billion, out of an overall $87 billion necessary to build a complete charging infrastructure.
“The $5 billion the EV Charging Program will provide is a historic investment, but it is far from sufficient,” the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council commented to the Federal Highway Administration. “Federal guidance should do everything possible to encourage complementary commitments and hedge against displacing other investments or programs.”
The Biden administration is implementing the EV charging program, as part of its goal to advance clean energy, CNBC reported. The administration has pledged that half of the vehicles sold in America by 2030 will be plug-in hybrids or fully electric.