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Washington Watch: EV charging: Biden to tap infrastructure money to standardize payments, accessibility

Pres. Biden will use funds from the infrastructure law to try to standardize for all users the 500,000 EV charging stations the president has pledged. Read More...

The Biden administration will use funds from the infrastructure law to try to standardize for all users the 500,000 electric-vehicle charging stations the president has pledged, the White House announced Thursday.

Without strong standards, chargers would be less reliable, may not work for all cars, or lack common payment methods, and they’ll be accessible no matter which state a driver is in, the Biden team said.

“To support the transition to electric vehicles, we must build a national charging network that makes finding a charge as easy as filling up at a gas station,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “These new ground rules will help create a network of EV chargers across the country that are convenient, affordable, reliable and accessible for all Americans.”

The White House said this move should be accompanied by revived interest in Congress to pass his plan to provide tax credits that make EVs, including Tesla TSLA, +1.25%, Nissan 7201, +1.93% and other makers more affordable. The administration suggests quicker EV adoption will help smooth the uncertainty for household budgets that come with volatile gas prices RB00, -0.12%. Biden’s climate-change push via legislation has met with hurdles in a tightly divided Congress, without support of Democrats in states that produce traditional fossil fuels.

A Consumer Reports survey has shown that vehicle range and availability of charging stations were top among U.S. motorists’ concerns. About half of the drivers surveyed said they would want an EV that could travel more than 300 miles between charges, and a little less than half of those who don’t “definitely” plan to get an EV for their next vehicle say inadequate charging infrastructure is holding them back.

The $7.5 billion for EV charging infrastructure in the bipartisan infrastructure
law will build a “convenient and equitable” charging network through two programs, the White House said.

The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program will provide $5 billion in formula funding to states to build out charging infrastructure along highway corridors — filling gaps in rural, disadvantaged and hard-to-reach locations, while instilling public confidence in charging, the release said.

Meanwhile, a $2.5 billion competitive grant offering aims to support community and corridor charging, improve local air quality, and increase EV charging access in underserved and overburdened communities.

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