Biden to pour hundreds of millions into building EV charging stations

As part of President Biden’s massive $7.5 billion plan to extensively build out EV infrastructure in the US – much to the chagrin of some Republican lawmakers –  the government has announced that it is investing $623 million in grants to put 7,500 more EV charging stations on the roads.

The funding is part of the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program, which gives the Federal Highway Administration $2.5 billion to play with over the next five years to build EV charging fueling stations in local communities and along major highways. Money too has been earmarked to create hydrogen corridors for medium- and heavy-duty freight trucks.

Some $311 million will be offered to 36 “community” projects,  including two Indian Tribes in Alaska and Arizona, to build both EV and hydrogen recharging stations at libraries, schools, public parks, etc. The remaining $312 will go to 11 “corridor” recipients whose projects are located along roadways designated as Alternative Fuel Corridors, with the idea to fill gaps in the existing network. The project involves 22 states and Puerto Rico, with the total construction of about 7,500 EV charging ports.

For Puerto Rico, some $51 million is earmarked to build out charging stations along its corridors. Mesa, Arizona, will receive $12 million to build 48 electric vehicle chargers for a variety of vehicle sizes, charging docks for e-bikes and e-scooters, and solar canopies to support electricity generation at the stations.

In Texas, $70 million will be used to build five hydrogen fueling stations for medium- and heavy-duty freight trucks in Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, as well as create a hydrogen corridor from southern California to Texas. In California, 10 projects will receive grants, while some $26.6 million will go to four projects in Washington. You can see a list of recipients here.

The Biden administration says this is all critical to building out a “convenient, affordable, reliable and made-in-America national network” of electric vehicle chargers, which includes some 500,000 publicly available chargers by 2030. The promise to bring in new jobs too is part of the package.

“America led the arrival of the automotive era, and now we have a chance to lead the world in the EV revolution – securing jobs, savings, and benefits for Americans in the process,” US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “This funding will help ensure that EV chargers are accessible, reliable, and convenient for American drivers, while creating jobs in charger manufacturing, installation, and maintenance for American workers.”

Electrek’s Take

President Biden has made the focus on transitioning American drivers to EVs a central part of his policy – and the government has touted some big results since his taking office. According to the press announcement, EV sales have quadrupled in the US, with the number of publicly available charging ports rising by nearly 70%. Today, more than 4 million EVs are on US roadways, with the goal for half of the country’s car sales to be electric by 2030.

Of course, this is all badly needed if we’re to put more EVs on the road – and US drivers particularly need more reliable stations. EV charging availability certainly won’t be enough on its own to encourage American drivers to ditch ICE cars for an EV, especially as gas prices dip, but not having an extended network makes it impossible.

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