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Attention potential car buyers: New electric vehicle charging stations are on the way to nearby freeway locations.
All 50 states received final approval Tuesday to begin building a first nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations that place one roughly every 50 miles (80 kilometers) along interstate highways, part of of the Biden administration’s plan to spur widespread adoption of zero-emission cars.
The Department of Transportation said it had accepted electric vehicle charger plans from a final set of 17 states, leading to the release of $1.5 billion in federal funds to all jurisdictions across the country ( or $5 billion over five years) to install or upgrade chargers along 75,000 miles (120,000 kilometers) of highway from coast to coast, with a goal of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers nationwide. Plans for the other 33 states and the District of Columbia were approved earlier this month.
By the end of the year, drivers could start seeing expansions and upgrades to existing highway electric vehicle stations in states like California, Colorado, Florida and Pennsylvania, which now have at least four fast-charging ports, allowing that electric vehicles are fully recharged in about an hour.
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Construction of new electric vehicle charging points could begin next spring.
“America led the original automotive revolution last century, and … we are poised to lead the 21st century with electric vehicles,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. He said the plans “will help ensure that Americans in every part of the country, from the biggest cities to the most rural communities, can be positioned to unlock the savings and benefits of electric vehicles.”
The approval is an important step toward building widespread acceptance and use of electric vehicles among consumers, who often express doubts about the shorter range of electric vehicles and the limited availability of public chargers. President Joe Biden has set a goal that 50 percent of new car sales in the United States will be electric by 2030, and his administration is proposing new tax credits next year of up to $7,500 for electric vehicles are accessible to everyday Americans. Still, the five-year plans suggest a potentially long and bumpy road ahead for a highway electric vehicle network, with states citing risks such as a lack of power grid capacity, supply chain shortages and equity issues.
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For example, while Texas, California and Florida say their grid should be able to handle an increased capacity of a million or more electric vehicles, other states aren’t so sure.
“Capacity will become a concern in the coming years as charging infrastructure and electric vehicles become more ubiquitous,” New Mexico said in its plan.
Vermont wrote that “unmanaged or unplanned charging for electric vehicles could cause utilities to incur significant costs to maintain grid reliability and create challenges for grid operators” and that some locations “may also require intensive upgrades and network building”.
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Mississippi cited a potential shortage of electric vehicle charging station equipment, which it said “may cause significant setbacks” in construction. Several states also expressed concern that they would not be able to acquire charging stations that comply with the provisions made by the United States.
“It may delay implementation by several years,” New Jersey officials wrote.
Under the Transportation Department’s requirements, states must also first focus on more expensive fast chargers on freeway routes that typically cost $40,000 to $100,000 to install, rather than rolling into neighborhoods and communities with level 2 chargers which are cheaper but take a few hours to provide. a full charge.
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EV owners currently charge their vehicles at home 80% of the time, typically in single-family homes. But that is likely to change as the less affluent who don’t have a garage to house a charging station buy electric vehicles.
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Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law provides an additional $2.5 billion in local grants to fill remaining gaps in the charging grid in rural areas and underserved communities, which are less likely to own higher-priced electric vehicles or have charging stations available nearby. The Federal Highway Administration said Tuesday it will begin accepting applications for that money later this year.