Slow Progress On Biden’s EV Charger Rollout With Just 7 Built So Far
Slow Progress On Biden’s EV Charger Rollout With Just 7 Built So Far

By Tom Ozimek

President Joe Biden’s pledge to use money from the $1 trillion infrastructure bill to build 500,000 electric vehicle (EV) chargers by 2030 is moving forward—albeit at a snail’s pace—with officials revealing that, so far, the number built is seven.

When The Epoch Times reported on EV charging station construction in December 2023, just one had been built under the $5 billion National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program, which is part of the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

“America’s first new charging station puts us one step closer to making travel easier for EV drivers,” Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jack Marchbanks said in a statement on Dec. 8, a day on which Ohio officially became the first state in the nation to bring the first NEVI-funded charger online.

Since then, another four states have unveiled chargers, a with the total number of charging stations rising to seven, a spokesperson for the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, which is administering the NEVI program, told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement.

Stephen Lommele, interim communications and stakeholder engagement lead at the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, said that Maine became the latest state to open a NEVI-funded charging station on March 15, joining Hawaii, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

“Each NEVI ’station’ is required to have at least four charging ports,” Mr. Lommele added, noting that there are now over 175,000 public chargers in the United States.

EV Charger Buildout

A key part of the Biden administration’s push to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 is to sharply expand the nation’s EV charging infrastructure.

President Biden has set a goal of building out the network of publicly available EV chargers to least 500,000 by 2030.

The $5 billion NEVI program is a major part of this strategy, with the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation saying recently it’s working with all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico to move the program forward, in line with plans put forward by each.

Several states, including Vermont and Colorado, are expected to open public charging stations later this year, while over a dozen have awarded contracts for projects or already broken ground.

Biden administration officials insist the program is on track and that the slow pace at which new charging stations are coming online is driven by the desire to avoid making mistakes.

“We are building this national framework from scratch, partnering with states to set plans, and we want to make sure we are taking appropriate care to set this program up correctly,″ Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt told The Associated Press in an interview.

“The first two years were about getting the rules right, getting the plans in place,” Mr. Bhatt said. “And now what you’re going to see is this year being about the chargers coming online.”

The president has set a goal that 50 percent of all new vehicles sold in the United States by 2030 should be electric, with the availability of charging stations being key to persuading Americans to buy EVs.

There are a number of impediments to widespread EV adoption, however, with one of the top reasons being driver worry that they’ll end up stranded on the side of the road due to lack of a charger nearby.

Obstacles to EV Adoption

A recent study by the American Automobile Association (AAA) found that an EV’s range can fall by as much as a quarter when the vehicle is carrying heavy loads.

“Range anxiety remains a top reason consumers are hesitant to switch from gasoline-powered vehicles to EVs,” AAA spokesperson Adrienne Woodland said in a statement.

Another recent study by consultancy Ernst & Young in collaboration with European energy industry body Eurelectric found that range anxiety is the second-most cited concern about switching to an EV, with a lack of public charging stations in the top spot.

The study points to an estimated need for 68.9 million chargers across the United States and Canada by 2035 to support the pace of the EV transformation.

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