Climate

White House rolls out $5 billion funding plan to states for electric vehicle chargers

Key Points
  • The Biden administration this week rolled out a plan to allocate $5 billion to states to fund electric vehicle chargers over five years as part of the bipartisan infrastructure package.
  • The historic investment is part of the administration's broader agenda to combat human-caused climate change and advance the clean energy transition.
  • Despite a rise in EV sales in the U.S. in recent years, the transportation sector is still one of the largest contributors to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
US President Joe Biden, speaks about rebuilding manufacturing on February 8, 2022, from the South Court Auditorium in Eisenhower Executive Office Building, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI | AFP | Getty Images

The Biden administration this week rolled out a plan to allocate $5 billion to states to fund electric vehicle chargers over five years, as part of the bipartisan infrastructure package that includes $7.5 billion to build a sprawling network of EV charging stations across the country.

The investment is part of the administration's broader agenda to combat human-caused climate change and advance the clean energy transition. The Biden administration has touted EVs as more affordable for Americans than gas-powered cars and has pledged that half the vehicles sold in the U.S. will be electric or plug-in hybrids by 2030.

The new guidance will help states build a network of EV charging stations along designated alternative fuel corridors on the national highway system, senior administration officials said during a press briefing Wednesday.

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Despite a rise in EV sales in the U.S. in recent years, the transportation sector is still one of the largest contributors to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, comprising roughly one-third of emissions each year.

Roughly 24% of new vehicles sold worldwide are likely to be fully electric by 2030, according to forecasts from consulting firm Alix Partners. The U.S. is the world's third-largest market for EVs behind China and Europe.

 "We're not going to go electric fast enough if we don't have the ability to eliminate range anxiety for people and to be able to have them plug in wherever they live, wherever they work, wherever they want to head," Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said during a speech in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

The program to build out charging stations could save an average driver who uses an electric vehicle up to $1,000 each year on gasoline, President Joe Biden said. Tritium, an Australian company that makes EV chargers, is set to build a manufacturing facility in Tennessee that will produce up to 30,000 chargers each year and create 500 local jobs.

Under the plan, entitled the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program, states must submit their EV infrastructure deployment plans to the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation by Aug. 1. The Federal Highway Administration will approve eligible plans by Sept. 30.

"It's going to help ensure that America leads the world on electric vehicles," the president said during a speech earlier this week to promote American companies expanding EV infrastructure in the U.S.

"China has been leading the race up to now, but this is about to change," Biden said. "Because America is building convenient, reliable, equitable national public charging networks. So wherever you live, charging an electric vehicle will be quick and easy."

Officials during the call Wednesday said they will unveil guidance on the other $2.5 billion for EV charging stations as part of the bipartisan infrastructure plan later this year. That funding will involve discretionary grants for corridor and community EV charging.

The administration has previously proposed an EV incentive package that would allocate additional money for consumers who bought electric vehicles built by unionized workers. The administration has also committed to replace its federal fleet of 600,000 cars and trucks to electric power by 2035. 

"This announcement demonstrates that clean energy investments deliver for America," Elizabeth Gore, senior vice president of political affairs at the Environmental Defense Fund, said in a statement.

"Building out a national network of charging stations will mean less pollution, more jobs and cleaner cars," Gore said. "It will also allow more Americans to skip paying at the pump by making electric vehicles a practical choice for more working families."

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