Biden unveils rules for nationwide network of 500,000 charging stations for electric vehicles

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The Biden administration unveiled minimum standards and requirements Thursday for how states should spend federal money to create a vast network of 500,000 charging stations for electric vehicles.

Through $7.5 billion in government funds allocated under a bipartisan infrastructure law from last year, the administration’s desired system of electric vehicle chargers is part of President Biden’s agenda to combat climate change and achieve the ambitious target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

With transportation as the largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., the administration’s goal is to make owning an electric vehicle more affordable and appealing as it pushes the economy to transition away from fossil fuels.

The White House and administration officials said a streamlined and uniform recharging process will mean drivers can go to any state and charge up in a manner that is “user-friendly, cost-saving and financially sustainable.”

One key component of that equation will be building fast charging stations every 50 miles and no more than one mile off highways, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told reporters during a call with administration officials.

The new charging rules, which also require stations to provide real-time information on pricing, are designed to allow drivers to plan their trips and reduce wait times.  

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm touted to reporters the savings that electric vehicle owners are experiencing in the face of record-high prices at the pump.

“EVs are cheaper to own from the first day … With today’s gas prices, EV owners can save about $60 every time they charge up,” Ms. Granholm said.

“This administration is making sure every American can reap those cost savings, and a key to that mission is giving people confidence that they can drive anywhere they want to and charge it wherever they live, work or shop,” she said.

Biden administration officials and Democrats who have touted the savings that electric vehicles can offer both in terms of fuel and maintenance amid high energy prices have received criticism from Republicans as being out of touch with middle-class America.

The average cost of an electric vehicle is roughly $10,000 more than the industry average for a vehicle, which includes gas-powered and electric cars, according to Kelley Blue Book.

Of the $7.5 billion appropriated by the infrastructure law, $5 billion is set aside for the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program to distribute to states for charging stations along highways, particularly in rural and disadvantaged areas.

Another $2.5 billion is for grants, for which states will be able to apply through the Transportation Department later this year.

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