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The EV charging situation in the US is about to suck a little less

The EV charging situation in the US is about to suck a little less


President Joe Biden just approved $900 million in the first tranche of funding

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Photo by Andrew Hawkins / The Verge

We’re about to see a lot more electric vehicle chargers in the US.

The Biden administration just announced the approval of $900 million in funding to 35 states to install EV chargers across approximately 53,000 miles of highway across the country — the first tranche from a $5 billion pot of money that was included as part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill last year.

That means money is about to start flowing to the states to enact their plans to install thousands of new EV chargers, a crucial link in the Biden administration’s goal of getting more people to switch to plug-in vehicles. The president has said he wants to build 500,000 chargers across the US by 2030 in the hopes that an improved charging infrastructure will make EVs a more attractive choice for American car buyers. (Also meant to assist in that effort is the $7,500 EV tax credit.)

Biden made a trip to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week to tout the new funding

There are approximately 41,000 public charging stations in the United States, with more than 100,000 outlets. Of course, public chargers are only half of the equation. Most EV owners do their charging overnight while parked in their driveway at home. But if EVs are to become a more attractive option to car buyers, charging stations are going to need to become more pervasive and reliable like gas stations. 

Biden made a trip to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, this week to tout the new funding and take a victory lap on the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes billions of dollars in clean energy incentives and other measures aimed at improving the manufacturing sector in the US.

To receive the funding, states had to submit plans for how they would spend the money while meeting a new set of standards meant to ensure the installation of EV chargers that are convenient, affordable, and accessible to the broadest number of people. The standards also outline the types of projects that won’t receive federal money, including proprietary charging stations that can only be accessed by one company’s vehicles, like Tesla’s Supercharger network.

Earlier this year, the administration unveiled its plans to create a continuous network of EV charging stations along 165,722 miles of the National Highway System, covering 49 states and the District of Columbia. Under the plan, called the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) would approve eligible plans by September 30th, with $615 million being made available in the 2022 fiscal year.

In a statement today, the administration clapped itself on the back for being ahead of schedule, with FHWA acting administrator Stephanie Pollack promising to approve the rest of the states’ plans by the September 30th deadline.