Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Accelerating the auto industry’s transition from hydrocarbons to electrons is no easy thing for the government to conduct, but the White House is already getting amped up. That was the message a few Biden administration officials brought to the Washington Auto Show’s public-policy day on Thursday.
The nearly $5 billion in funding included in the 2021 infrastructure law to support building out electric-vehicle charging stations stands among the administration’s first such efforts, and White House reps at the show said it will also be among the first to yield road-visible results.
“We will be able to build a complete national network, coast to coast, every interstate, every major highway,” Michael Berube, deputy assistant secretary for sustainable transportation at the Department of Energy, told Reuters’ Dave Shepardson in a panel.
The resulting 500,000 new chargers will join what Berube said are 130,000 chargers already available for EV drivers to plug into.
But many EV drivers have complained about the spotty reliability of some of these existing, non-Tesla fast chargers, a point brought up during audience Q&A. “We are laser focused on this,” Berube said, adding that upcoming funding-eligibility standards will require 97% uptime.
A Charger on Every Curb
The next panel provided more detail on those standards. Gabe Klein, executive director of the White House’s Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, said the first set—covering interoperability, payment, and siting—should come out in the next couple of weeks.
Klein predicted that development would lead to more states submitting requests for proposals to build chargers with those federal funds (Ohio and Pennsylvania already have RFPs in).
“We think that you'll start to see some chargers go in the ground in 2023,” he said, with many more coming in 2024 and 2025 as states and the feds continue to learn by doing. “This is going to be an iterative process.”
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