Quality with quantity

Source: BY MATTHEW CHOI, Politico • Posted: Thursday, June 9, 2022

The Biden administration hopes to expand the country’s electric vehicle charging network with 500,000 more charging stations. It also wants to make sure all those stations are actually useful.

The Transportation Department is unveiling a new proposed rule today that would require EV charging stations to meet several criteria to be eligible for money under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program, including being accessible for different car brands, banning chargers from requiring subscriptions, ensuring minimum charging speeds and keeping payment systems easy to use.

“You shouldn’t have to sort through half a dozen apps on your phone just to be able to pay at a charging station,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told reporters.

The move follows several other measures to expand charging infrastructure to make electric vehicles a more attractive option outside of rich, urban clusters. Last year’s bipartisan infrastructure package included $7.5 billion for EV charging infrastructure, with $5 billion being available this year under the NEVI program. The Energy and Transportation departments operate a joint office helping states stake out their EV deployment plans, and today’s rule is meant to ensure quality in the proposals.

Democrats point to EVs as a key, long-term answer to volatile fuel prices set by global markets. The national average gasoline price yet again hit an all time high Wednesday at $4.955.

But transitioning to electric vehicles will also need support from Congress, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters Wednesday, including via Democrats’ Build Back Better EV tax credits that stalled in the Senate last year. When asked for the latest on the legislative front, Granholm said the discussions are still ongoing but “the President certainly would encourage his original proposal to be adopted.” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) dismissed expanding EV tax credits during last year’s BBB negotiations.