At the request of the Biden administration, Congress approved a budget of $7.5 billion in 2021 to construct numerous electric vehicle charging stations nationwide. This initiative aims to address both the concerns of drivers and the issue of climate change.
After two years, the program still has not installed a single charger.
The reason for the delays in the charger industry, according to both states and industry representatives, is primarily due to the complex array of new contracts and performance standards that must be met in order to receive federal funding. Although over $2 billion has been approved by federal officials to be allocated to states, less than half of them have begun the process of accepting bids from contractors for charger construction, let alone actually starting the construction process.
According to government estimates, there is a growing demand for electric cars in the United States, which means that there will need to be six times more chargers on the roads by the end of the next decade. However, none of the chargers funded by the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure law are currently operational, and it is unlikely that they will be available for use by American drivers until 2024 at the earliest.
essential in reaching President Joe Biden’s goal of having 50% of vehicles sold in the US be electric by 2030, which is a crucial aspect of his environmental policy. Many Americans have expressed their concern about the insufficient charging infrastructure hindering the achievement of this goal.
One of the main factors preventing them from purchasing an electric vehicle..
Opponents from the Republican party are currently attempting to halt the administration’s plans to establish a network for charging electric vehicles by cutting off its funding. This slow implementation could potentially weaken Biden’s focus on electric vehicles for his reelection campaign and potentially pave the way for a Republican successor to undo the progress made in building the charging network by 2025.
“The rollout has been frustrating, to say the least,” expressed Arcady Sosinov, the founder and CEO of FreeWire Technologies, a charging manufacturer.
The Department of Energy contains 41,000 fast chargers that can ease the fear of running out of battery during a long electric vehicle road trip.
In a June study
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that the United States will require 1.2 million public charging stations by 2030 in order to meet the demand for charging, with 182,000 of those being fast chargers.
Government officials maintain that the speed of implementing the infrastructure law’s charging funds is understandable, given the challenges of establishing a new program in each state and coordinating with the private sector to ensure reliability and performance standards are met for each station funded by the federal government.
Gabe Klein, executive director of the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, stated that the aim is to establish a consistent and dependable network across the country for electric vehicle charging. This office oversees the federal government’s initiatives in this area.
During an interview, Klein stated, “In order to achieve speed, one must first proceed with caution.” He also mentioned that these processes may take some time, but the end result will greatly revolutionize the approach.
The majority of the budget for the infrastructure legislation, totaling $5 billion, is focused on constructing rapid charging stations along interstate highways through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program. This program mandates that the chargers must adhere to a specific set of criteria, including being located at least every 50 miles along major routes, having a 97 percent operational rate, and offering credit card readers for convenient payment.
Aatish Patel, the president of XCharge North America, a company that produces chargers, is concerned that the current delays in charger installation are jeopardizing efforts to increase the use of electric vehicles.
Patel stated that as an electric vehicle operator, a charger being installed in two years will not be beneficial at the moment. They emphasized the urgent need for chargers in their area.
on the Affordable Care Act
The Republican Party intensifies their criticism of the Affordable Care Act.
Next year’s election will probably see a slow implementation of federally-funded chargers, and those against electric vehicles have used this as a way to criticize Biden’s plans to promote them.
Former President Donald Trump has railed against subsidies for EVs and the infrastructure that powers them, arguing the market should dictate what type of car Americans drive. But he has also relentlessly attacked EVs for their range and the dearth of chargers — the issue Biden is aiming to solve with the infrastructure law funds.
According to Trump, at a rally with autoworkers in Michigan in September, the most joyous time when purchasing an electric car is the initial 10 minutes of driving. However, after that, anxiety kicks in as one becomes concerned about finding a place to charge the vehicle to keep it running.
During the House session in November, Republican legislators proposed changes to the transportation budget proposal in order to eliminate funding for the charging initiatives established by the infrastructure legislation.
“The federal government is not responsible for such a venture, and this program is ineffective, will not be effective, and will ultimately squander large sums of federal funds,” stated Representative.Harriet Hageman
On the House floor, (R-Wyo.) made a case.
The NEVI program faced a strong defeat when her proposal to defund it was rejected, with 238 representatives from both political parties voting against it. However, the House approved a different amendment proposed by Representative [Name].Eric Burlison
The politician from Missouri (R-Mo.) is proposing to weaken the sister program, the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Grant Program, which allocates $2.5 billion for charging stations in rural areas and public spaces.
Officials in the administration are not worried about the possibility of a future administration attempting to reverse the program, citing support for the funds from governors in conservative states and the private sector.
Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio, a Republican, announced in a statement that he is dedicated to preparing the people of Ohio for the future of electric vehicles. This comes after the state unveiled the nation’s first charger funded by the NEVI program in October.
DeWine stated that this significant development showcases the state’s dedication to promptly installing chargers for the convenience of Ohio drivers.
In accordance with the infrastructure legislation, the NEVI funds are managed by individual states, which have the option to outsource the building and management of charging stations to private businesses. To date, all states have begun the process of obtaining the NEVI funds by submitting a proposal to the Joint Office in 2022 and providing an update in 2023. However, in the event that a governor declines the funds, local governments may apply to oversee their administration.
“I am currently feeling more enthusiastic than I have at any point since starting this job because everyone is working together towards a common goal – regardless of political affiliation. We can all see the positive effects of our investments.”
After Ohio, Pennsylvania has also initiated the construction of its inaugural NEVI-funded charger in November. Six additional states have granted contracts for their first set of charging locations, while 15 states and Puerto Rico are currently seeking bids from private companies.
However, there are 27 states and the District of Columbia that have not yet begun the process of requesting bids. Some states, such as Missouri, are expecting to delay posting their request until 2025. Three of these states (Nevada, New York, and Vermont) are obtaining federally-funded chargers through means other than a public request for bids, but they do intend to solicit bids in the future.
The chargers in America have been consistently unreliable, leading to the need for investment in domestic manufacturing facilities to meet new sourcing regulations for the equipment.
Patrick Murphy, who is overseeing the distribution of funds at the Vermont Agency of Transportation, stated that the process of opening bids for charger construction and receiving bids from companies has been delayed by all of these factors.
“The implementation of this program has been hindered by various delays and will continue to face challenges as the industry works to comply with the regulations that have been established,” stated Murphy. “However, we also acknowledge that these regulations will contribute to the development of a reliable and accessible nationwide network, which is crucial for promoting EV adoption.”
Tanya Snyder was a contributor to this report.