‘The money should start flowing by summertime’: Energy Secretary says EV charging network plan is cruising along

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 10:16 AM CST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - By Feb. 15, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm says the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation will release state guidance as part of the administration’s plan to create a nationwide network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers.

Granholm says it’s the first step toward green-lighting multibillion dollars in funding for local governments to begin the installation process.

“We want to put those charging stations in places that don’t already have them, where the private sector might not build them because maybe it’s not in their financial interest; maybe it’s rural areas where it’s long distances between charging,” said Secretary Granholm. “We want to take away the anxiety that people will have about getting an electric vehicle.”

According to the White House, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $5 billion in formula funding for states to build this network. Ten percent will be set aside for yearly state grants. The law also provides $2.5 billion for communities and corridors through grants that will ensure that the charger deployment meets administration priorities such as supporting rural charging, improving local air quality, and increasing EV charging access in disadvantaged communities.

“The money should start flowing by the summertime and we’ll start to see those charging stations all over the country,” Secretary Granholm said.

The electric vehicle charging network plan is a crucial part of the President’s clean energy agenda, but it wasn’t the environmental benefits that drove Virginia resident Vincent Giacomino to purchase his electric car.

Instead, Giacomino says it was the thrill, the new technology, and minimal maintenance that caused him to make the shift.

“You don’t have to change the oil: you just have wipers, windshield, brakes, and tires. That’s about it,” he said. “We just did a road trip from New York City and we used the supercharger network. It costs, on average, about maybe a third of what gasoline costs.”

Giacomino admits, however, finding a place to plug in isn’t always easy.

“I think once you make the infrastructure more comparable to gasoline or diesel, electric cars start to make a lot more sense for people,” he said.

The administration’s plan will likely further President Biden’s goal to have electric cars and trucks make up half of the new vehicles sold by 2030. Currently, data from the Pew Research Center shows only 7% of Americans say they own an electric car.

The majority of drivers are more focused on paying for gas, as prices average above $3 a gallon, heading into the new year.

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