Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
President Joe Biden's 2021 infrastructure bill boasts a $7.5 billion investment in electric vehicle (EV) chargers, and his administration insists the country is "on track" to install over a million public chargers by the end of the decade—but reports indicate that so far not a single one has actually been built.
A key part of the Biden administration's push to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 is to sharply expand the nation's charging infrastructure for plug-in EVs in order to align with President Biden's goal of having half of all new vehicles sold in the United States to be electric by 2030.
At the forefront of this effort is the federal government's commitment to pour in $7.5 billion as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law) to build 1.2 million public chargers to keep up with what the White House said over the summer was rapidly growing demand for EVs.
The $7.5 billion federal funding plan for EV chargers consists of the $5 billion National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program and the $2.5 billion Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program, both of which are being administered through agencies affiliated with the Department of Transportation (DOT).
However, despite more than $2 billion of the $7.5 billion in federal EV charger funding already authorized under the programs, not even half of states have started to take bids from contractors for construction—and not a single new public charger has been built.
“Already, seven states have issued conditional awards for new NEVI stations amounting to $101.5 million, two states have agreements in place, and 17 states are soliciting proposals for new stations,” the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, which is leading the Biden administration's EV charger efforts, said in an update at the end of October.
An initial wave of 26 states are leading the effort to build out the public EV charger network, with Ohio being the first to break a public EV charger construction project funded by the NEVI program.
The Epoch Times has reached out to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), which is administering the $5 billion NEVI program, with a request for more up-to-date information about the status of the various federally-funded EV charger projects.
Many Republicans have been lukewarm on the idea of federal funding for EV infrastructure, with former President Donald Trump voicing staunch opposition to EV subsidies, arguing that the government should step aside and let market forces decide what vehicles people drive.
While EV sales in the United Sates hit a record 313,086 in the third quarter of 2023, many carmakers are sounding the alarm, saying that demand isn't keeping up with expectations, forcing them to scale back some EV expansion plans.
Studies show that a key factor hampering widespread EV adoption is so-called "range anxiety," which is the fear among drivers that their EV will run out of power and grind to a halt on the side of the road with no charger in sight.
In order to alleviate drivers' range anxiety and support growing EV demand, a recent study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimated that the size of the national charging network needs to grow from roughly 3.1 million ports in 2022 to 28 million by 2030, with the vast majority being private chargers.
Currently, there are 182,892 public chargers in the country, according to the Energy Department, with the NREL study estimating that this figure needs to rise to a total of 1.2 million by 2030 to support roughly 33 million light-duty plug-in EVs.
Including the $7.5 billion in taxpayer dollars from the infrastructure bill, the total cumulative investment in publicly accessible charging infrastructure through 2030 is estimated to require an investment of between $31-$55 billion.
When including the private network, that cumulative national investment estimate increases to $53-$127 billion, with 52 percent of the cost being private chargers, 39 percent being public DC fast chargers, and 9 percent public L2 chargers, per the NREL study.
Over the summer, the White House said in a fact sheet that the Biden administration is "on track" to install a network of 1.2 million public chargers by 2030.
Gabe Klein, executive director of the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, told Politico in a recent interview that it may be slow going for now—but that will change.
“You have to go slow to go fast,” Mr. Klein told the outlet. “These are things that take a little bit of time, but boy, when you’re done, it’s going to completely change the game.”
“I’m probably more excited now … than I’ve been anytime since I took this job because everybody’s paddling in the right direction—purple state, blue state, red state,” Mr. Klein added.
“Everybody’s seeing the impact of the investments,” he insisted.
Meanwhile, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who has been a key figure helping President Biden push EVs onto a reluctant public, recently acknowledged that there weren't enough chargers to satisfy demand—and that some existing ones don't work.
His admission came as the federal agency he helms announced $100 million in funding for repairing and replacing exsting EV charging stations.