Biden administration outlines plan to build more electric vehicle chargers

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The Biden administration said Thursday it would compel states to submit proposals to align highways with electric vehicle chargers, part of a $5 billion plan to fill a gap in needed infrastructure. to support the booming sales of battery-powered cars.

Electric vehicles have grown in popularity, accounting for nearly 9% of new cars sold globally last year. But America lags behind Europe in the number of places a battery-powered vehicle owner can charge.

On Thursday, administration officials detailed how they aim to fill the gap using $5 billion Congress appropriated as part of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill President Biden signed in November. .

This money, to be spent over five years, will not be enough to build the charging network that experts say is needed to serve the growing fleet of electric vehicles. But administration officials hope the plan will act as a catalyst, encouraging utilities and private operators to build additional charging stations.

The administration outlined a relatively quick timeline for rolling out an initial installment of $615 million. All 50 states, along with Washington, DC and Puerto Rico, would be required to submit plans by early August outlining how they would install high-voltage chargers along or very near major highways.

Chargers should not be more than 50 miles apart, and states are encouraged to place them at rest areas or other locations with food and other services. Federal officials must decide by the end of September whether or not to approve the states’ plans.

Later, the administration plans to spend another $2.5 billion on chargers in rural areas or other communities where private sector operators might be less inclined to invest.

The money “will help us win the race for electric vehicles by working with states, unions and the private sector to deploy a historic national charging network that will make electric vehicle charging accessible to more Americans,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement.

Administration officials touted the Interstate Charging Plan as a way to create jobs for electricians and other workers. Mr. Biden described the shift to electric vehicles as part of his efforts to revive manufacturing in the United States. One of the fears is that because electric vehicles require far fewer workers to build, they could lead to job losses for automakers and suppliers.

On Tuesday, Mr Biden appeared at the White House with Jane Hunter, the chief executive of Tritium, an Australian maker of charging equipment that has announced plans to build a factory in Lebanon, Tennessee, that would employ 500 people.

“We are seeing the beginnings of an American-made comeback,” Biden said at the event.

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