У plan released late last week, the federal government outlined details of a $ 5 billion investment in infrastructure to charge electric vehicles over the next five years.
The money was set aside in a bipartisan infrastructure law passed in November, and funding is part of the Biden administration’s broader goal of expanding the use of EVs. Biden has promised that the U.S. will reach 500,000 public charging stations by 2030, and that by then more than half of the country’s cars will be electric or plug-in hybrids. This funding could be the first step toward achieving those goals, and details in a plan released last week determine how the money will be spent.
“This is the largest investment in charging infrastructure in the United States,” said Nick Nigra, the company’s founder. State Policy Atlas, a policy and data research company focusing on climate issues. “It’s a big deal, in a nutshell.”
In short, the federal government will allocate $ 5 billion over the next five years to the state for the installation and maintenance of public charging stations for electric carriers, as well as an additional $ 2.5 billion for rural and low-income communities. The money will be distributed between states and should be used on chargers along certain routes, mostly on interstate highways.
The administration’s goal is to install charging stations at least every 50 miles along these roads, and each station will have at least four fast chargers that can deliver 150 kW, making them similar to Tesla superchargers.
Such chargers are not cheap, which is why this type of investment is so important, explains Nigra. Adding an in-house EV charging station that can charge a car overnight can cost about $ 500. While construction costs depend on the facility, a single charger capable of delivering 150 to 300 kW can cost between $ 150,000 and $ 200,000, Nigra says.
The states will work out their plans roughly where they plan to install the stations, and send them to the federal government by August 1, which will approve them by the end of September. Then states can start spending.
What about issues of social justice?
Once the designated highways are covered, the extra money can be used to install chargers in public places such as gas stations and shopping malls. And once $ 5 billion is spent, there is an additional $ 2.5 billion that can be allocated to rural and underserved areas. This additional funding is important for the administration’s equity goals, Nigra explains.
“There is a long history of large infrastructure projects that do not benefit disadvantaged communities but harm them,” says Nigra. Historically government often destroyed communities of color in the construction of the federal highway system.
In the first few weeks of his tenure, Biden promised that 40 percent of the benefits of investing in climate and clean energy would go to disadvantaged communities. In this regard, this program is clearly mentioned, which is called Justice40 Initiative. States will need to include in their funding requests how their plans will follow the recommendations and benefit disadvantaged communities.
Ultimately, the level of EV adoption that the Biden administration is aiming for will require much more funding, Nigra says. According to data, only 100 percent of EV sales by 2035 will require about $ 40 billion. recent work by Atlas. This is likely to come from a variety of locations, including federal and state governments, as well as private companies such as utilities, third-party chargers and automakers.
The new funding should help push other governments and companies to continue investing in charging EVs, Nigra says. “This plan is to create a backbone.”