States get the green light to build charging stations for electric cars

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WASHINGTON (AP) – States are getting the green light to build a nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations that would build new or upgraded stations every 50 miles along highways, part of the Biden administration‘s plan to speed up the rollout of zero-emission charging stations Cars.

The administration on Thursday announced $5 billion in federal funding to states over five years under President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill, outlining a vision for seamless coast-to-coast climate-friendly road travel.

New requirements from the Department of Transportation require states to submit plans to the federal government and can start construction by fall if they focus first on freeway stretches rather than neighborhoods and malls that will allow people to travel long distances in their electric vehicles. Each station would need to have at least four fast charging ports, allowing drivers to fully charge their vehicles in about an hour.

A joint office of the Departments of Transportation and Energy will help provide guidance to states on how to expand the network, while also considering rural and underprivileged communities. If states don’t fully comply with the requirements, they risk delays in getting approvals from the Federal Highway Administration or receiving no federal money at all.

“A century ago, America ushered in the modern automobile age; Now America must lead the electric vehicle revolution,” said Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who will receive final approval on most aspects of the funding. “The President’s bipartisan infrastructure bill will help us win the EV race by working with states, workers and the private sector to build a historic nationwide charging network that will make EV charging accessible to more Americans.”

The law also provides an additional $2.5 billion in local grants planned later this year to fill remaining charging network gaps in rural areas and disadvantaged communities that are currently less likely to own the more expensive electric vehicles.


During the presidential election campaign, Biden promised to set up an initial network of 500,000 charging stations. He has also set a goal of selling 50% electric vehicles by 2030, as part of a broader US effort to become zero emissions for the economy as a whole by 2050.

Electric vehicles accounted for less than 3% of US new car sales last year, but forecasters expect big gains over the next decade. Consumers bought about 400,000 all-electric vehicles. According to a Consumer Reports survey, concerns about limited range and the availability of charging stations were among the top concerns consumers have about owning an electric vehicle.

“We’re modernizing America’s National Highway System for drivers in cities, towns, cities and rural communities to take advantage of the benefits of electric driving,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. Alluding to the rising gas prices that have hit Americans’ wallets, she said the goal is to “build the necessary infrastructure for drivers across America to save money and go the distance.”

There are more than 50,000 charging stations with more than 100,000 outlets in the US. Senior administration officials are now citing money in the Infrastructure Act as a first step toward reaching the half-million target by 2030, after halving Biden’s proposed $15 billion for charging stations. They imagine that the new construction could stimulate additional large investments from the private sector.

Currently, EV owners charge their vehicles 80% of the time at home, reducing the need for EV charging stations at college campuses, residential parking lots, or even on public roads. But that’s likely to change as more people who don’t have a garage to house a charging station buy electric vehicles.

Under the Department of Transportation’s plan, states would be eligible to build EV stations in neighborhoods and cities once the Federal Highway Administration and Buttigieg certify that they are doing their part to meet obligations to the highway EV charging network, known as alternative fuel corridors , have done.

DC fast chargers, which can charge a car up to 80% of its battery capacity in 20 to 45 minutes, are quite expensive, costing $40,000 to $100,000, which limits the number of build options, but they allow drivers to get back up and running quickly to come back on a road like a highway.

Chargers that run on 240-volt electricity, similar to a clothes dryer, are far cheaper, around $2,000. They take about eight hours to fully recharge a car and are expected to be a further step in construction in places where people stay for a long time as early as next year.

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