The National EV Charging Initiative, which was launched in August 2021 to guide the deployment of a national charging ecosystem, held the “National EV Charging Summit” last week. The Summit featured a variety of stakeholders, including automakers, power providers, electric vehicle and charging industry leaders, and labor and public interest groups. During the Summit, panelists discussed the future of electric vehicle charging, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the deployment of electric vehicles.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, passed in 2021, provides the largest investment to date in electric vehicle infrastructure. This legislation allocates $7.5 billion in funding for the construction of a national network of 500,000 new electric vehicle charging stations. The money is split into $5 billion in funding for states and $2.5 billion in grants for communities and corridors to establish electric vehicle charging stations, especially in underserved and rural communities.
One of the speakers at the Summit was Jigar Shah, the director of the Loan Programs Office at the U.S. Department of Energy. During his panel, Shah said public money, rather than being the sole source of money for EV charging stations, should become a “catalyst” that proves the business model to support robust private and utility investment. Other Summit participants spoke to this point as well, emphasizing the opportunity that electric vehicle charging stations present as a profitable industry for private investment.
“It’s important that independent automotive repair shops be included in the conversation about EV infrastructure,” said Fred Hules Jr., chairman of the Automotive Service Association (ASA). “In addition to accessibility of EV charging stations, shops must have access to training, data and the tools necessary for the repair of these vehicles. ASA is focused on our members being prepared as the U.S. vehicle fleet transitions to EVs and other technologies.”
In addition to the $7.5 billion in funding, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also authorized the creation of a joint office of the Department of Energy and Department of Transportation that is focused on electric vehicle infrastructure and deployment. During the Summit, Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg said the administration is moving quickly to send money to states and local communities for EV charging, and she predicted that money would be available “in the coming months”.
Electric vehicles and EV charging stations are a new frontier for the transportation industry. All the panelists at the National EV Charging Summit emphasized the importance of the deployment of electric vehicles and their optimism about the future of clean transportation. National Urban League Executive Vice President Don Cravins emphasized this sentiment in his remarks, saying: “If we do this right and we all start on the same page, we can make an impact. We cannot afford to mess this up, both environmentally, health-wise, and economically.”