WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Monday released a strategy for building a nationwide network of charging stations for electric vehicles.
Vice President Kamala Harris outlined the administration's efforts for EV charging infrastructure at an event at the Brandywine Maintenance Facility in Maryland alongside National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.
"The auto industry is clearly moving toward electric. We need to make the shift faster and make sure it is driven by the United States," Harris said in remarks. "That means manufacturing millions of electric cars, trucks and buses right here in our country. That means outfitting thousands of EV ... repair garages, just like this one, and it means installing a national network of EV chargers."
The roughly $1 trillion infrastructure law President Joe Biden signed last month includes $7.5 billion to help build 500,000 EV charging stations across the U.S. and $65 billion for upgrades to the nation's electric grid.
Of the $7.5 billion, the law provides $5 billion for states to build out a charging network and $2.5 billion for local grants to support access to EV charging in rural areas and disadvantaged communities.
The administration's plan includes establishing a joint office between the U.S. Departments of Energy and Transportation to implement the EV charging network and other provisions of the infrastructure law. The two agencies also will launch an EV advisory committee, with members expected to be appointed by the end of March.
According to a White House fact sheet released Monday, the Transportation Department will publish guidance by Feb. 11 for states and cities to "strategically deploy" EV charging stations and build out a national network along U.S. highways. The department also will publish standards for EV chargers that are part of the national network no later than May 13 "to ensure they work, they're safe, and they're accessible to everyone."
The Energy and Transportation Departments also are working with domestic manufacturers, including automakers, and other EV stakeholders to understand "what domestic sourcing is available today and what may be possible in the future" for EV chargers and other related components as part of the administration's effort to boost U.S. competitiveness.
"The current network of over 100,000 public chargers operates with different plug types, payment options, data availability and hardware hookups. Today's actions will establish a more uniform approach, provide greater convenience for customers, and offer increased confidence for industry," the fact sheet said.
"These federal programs," the White House continued, "will spur additional private sector investments and drive the build-out of a user-friendly, cost-effective and financially sustainable national network creating well-paying jobs across manufacturing, installation and operation."
The White House said increasing domestic manufacturing of EV batteries and components as well as advancing domestic sourcing and recycling of critical minerals in a way that is environmentally responsible also are "key components" to the federal EV strategy.
Biden has set a goal for half of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2030 to be zero-emission, including battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell. The president last week signed an executive order to transition the federal vehicle fleet to zero-emission vehicles by 2035.
"By 2050, at the latest, we will achieve net-zero emissions, and one important way we achieve net-zero emissions is by investing in zero-emission vehicles," Harris said. "And that is why right now, we are making the largest-ever investment in electric vehicle infrastructure and technology in our nation's history."
The Alliance for Automotive Innovation last week unveiled 10 recommendations for public charging stations. The recommendations are designed to help federal- and state-level investment planning and funding considerations for EV charging across the U.S.
John Bozzella, CEO of the alliance, said the $7.5 billion in federal funding for EV charging infrastructure is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to jumpstart building a nationwide charging and refueling infrastructure for EVs.”
“We commend the Biden administration for working to ensure this investment is utilized efficiently and effectively, and we see significant alignment with our own recently released ‘Recommended Attributes for EV Charging Stations,’” Bozzella said in a statement to Automotive News.
The trade association represents most automakers in the U.S as well as some suppliers and tech companies. It does not represent Tesla Inc.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk last week called the infrastructure law's multibillion-dollar funding for EV chargers "unnecessary" and said he's in favor of dropping all federal subsidies, including for the oil and gas industry.