Biden Admin Wants Federally Funded EV Chargers to Be Made in U.S. and Work With Any Vehicle
As the Biden administration rolls out its promised 500,000 new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations by 2030, it is taking steps to make sure that any EV driver can use them.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) together with the Department of Energy unveiled new standards Wednesday for new charging stations receiving federal funds, including that they must work with all brands of vehicles.
“This is a major step toward a world where every EV user will be able to find safe, reliable charging stations anywhere in the country,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a DOT press release. “We’re establishing common, universal standards for EV charging stations just like the ones for gas stations, so that recharging an EV away from home will be as predictable and accessible as filling up a gas tank.”
The standards were expected to impact Tesla in particular, White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu told reporters Tuesday ahead of the announcement, as The Hill reported. Tesla currently has a U.S. charging network that spans the nation and is more than double the size of the network run by its closest competitor, as The Washington Post reported. But the White House wants a national charging network that “will work for everyone, everywhere, no matter what type of car or state they’re in,” Landrieu said, as The Hill reported.
The Biden administration reportedly lobbied Tesla to open some of its network to non-Tesla drivers, according to The Washington Post, and those efforts paid off. On Wednesday, the White House also announced that Tesla would make at least 7,500 of the chargers in its U.S. Supercharger and Destination Charger network available to drivers of all EVs by 2024. A minimum 3,500 of this number will be 250 kilowatt “Superchargers” placed along highways.
“In building our EV charging network, we have to ensure that as many chargers work for as many drivers as possible,” Biden said on Twitter. “To that end, @elonmusk will open a big part of @Tesla‘s network up to all drivers. That’s a big deal, and it’ll make a big difference.”
“Thank you, Tesla is happy to support other EVs via our Supercharger network,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted in response.
In return for opening up almost half of its U.S. network, Tesla will now be eligible for federal money under the new standards, Politico reported.
In addition to the universality rule, the EV charger standards announced Wednesday included stipulations that chargers be 97 percent reliable; have consistent plug types, power levels and numbers; have their locations, prices and availability easily searchable on maps; and be accessible via a single mode of identification.
Also on Wednesday, the administration announced a plan through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to comply with the Build America, Buy America Act to ensure that all chargers funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law be manufactured in the U.S. This means that both the final assembly of the chargers and the construction of iron or steel enclosures or housing must occur in the U.S. starting now. By 2024, at least 55 percent of the cost of all components also need to be U.S. made.
This news was welcomed by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
“Big win for working people, the environment and our economy!” the union tweeted.
The announcements are designed to further Biden’s goal of achieving 50 percent EV sales by 2030.
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