Biden deploys $5 billion to states for electric vehicle chargers

U.S. President Joe Biden, speaks about rebuilding manufacturing February 8, 2022, from the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI | AFP | Getty Images

The Biden administration this week rolled out a plan to allocate $5 billion to states to fund electric vehicle chargers over five years, part of the bipartisan infrastructure package that includes $7.5 billion to build a extensive network of electric vehicle charging stations across the country.

The investment is part of the administration’s broader program to combat human-induced climate change and advance the transition to clean energy. The Biden administration has touted electric vehicles as more affordable for Americans than gas-powered cars and has pledged that half of vehicles sold in the United States will be electric or plug-in hybrids by 2030.

The new guidelines will help states build a network of electric vehicle charging stations along designated alternative fuel corridors on the national highway system, senior administration officials said at a Wednesday press briefing.

Despite an increase in electric vehicle sales in the United States in recent years, the transportation sector remains one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, accounting for about a third of emissions each year.

Around 24% of new vehicles sold worldwide are expected to be fully electric by 2030, according to forecasts from consultancy Alix Partners. The United States is the world’s third largest market for electric vehicles behind China and Europe.

“We’re not going to go electric fast enough if we don’t have the ability to take people’s anxiety away and be able to plug them in wherever they live, wherever they work, wherever they want to go,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said during a speech in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

The charging station construction program could save an average driver who uses an electric vehicle up to $1,000 a year on gas, President Joe Biden has said. Tritium, an Australian company that makes electric vehicle chargers, is set to build a manufacturing plant in Tennessee that will produce up to 30,000 chargers each year and create 500 local jobs.

Under the plan, called the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program, states must submit their electric vehicle infrastructure deployment plans to the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation by August 1. The Federal Highway Administration will approve eligible plans by September 30.

“This is going to help ensure that America is the world leader in electric vehicles,” the president said during a speech earlier this week to promote American companies developing electric vehicle infrastructure in the United States. .

“China has led the race so far, but that’s about to change,” Biden said. “Because America is building convenient, reliable, and fair nationwide public charging networks. So wherever you live, charging an electric vehicle will be quick and easy.”

Officials on the call on Wednesday said they would unveil guidance on the remaining $2.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations under the bipartisan infrastructure plan later this year. This funding will involve discretionary grants for electric vehicle charging in the corridors and in the community.

The administration previously proposed an electric vehicle incentive package that would allocate additional funds to consumers who purchased electric vehicles built by unionized workers. The administration has also pledged to replace its federal fleet of 600,000 cars and trucks with electricity by 2035.

“This announcement demonstrates that investing in clean energy is good for America,” Elizabeth Gore, senior vice president for policy affairs at the Environmental Defense Fund, said in a statement.

“Building a nationwide network of charging stations will mean less pollution, more jobs and cleaner cars,” Gore said. “It will also allow more Americans to skip paying at the pumps by making electric vehicles a practical choice for more working families.”

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