Electric vehicles are beginning to spill forth from niche and mainstream manufacturers alike. The flow of battery-powered vehicles has turned from a mere trickle to more of a small stream, in anticipation of a full-fledged flood of EV demand (or, at least, regulatory incentives) soon to come. Oh, and there also is President Biden’s executive order outlining its goal of 50 percent of new cars being EVs by 2030, as well as the recent increase in CAFE standards for 2025. To further discuss the challenges facing such a mass deployment of electric vehicles and the charging infrastructure that’ll proverbially fuel them, the Biden-Harris Administration held a virtual meeting with a bunch of White House officials, private sector leaders, and automaker big-wigs on Wednesday, April 6.
Creating a charging network that’s accessible, convenient, equitable, and reliable for all Americans in all communities is going to require a lot of collaboration between the government and the auto industry. Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $7.5 billion for the creation of a national network of 500,000 EV chargers.
According to a statement from the Department of Transportation regarding the meeting, there was agreement that “that EV charging is an essential public good.” The statement also asserted that “There was broad consensus that charging stations and vehicles need to be interoperable and provide a seamless user experience, no matter what car you drive or where you charge your EV.” Interoperable means that there needs to be compatibility between charging stations and vehicles (ahem, Tesla, though that company has pledged to open up its Tesla-only charging network to others, though the details are thin on how that might work).
Speaking of Tesla, Elon Musk, something of a White House pariah, was invited to the meeting, indicating that the Biden Administration is at least acknowledging Tesla as an EV manufacturer. Unfortunately, Musk didn’t tweet about this progress. Musk was joined by eleven other manufacturer CEOs, including GM’s Mary Barra, Ford’s Jim Farley, and Stellantis’s Carlos Tavares, and representatives of each company laid out their own plans for electric vehicle support networks.
Also present at the meeting were Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, and Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu. So far, the agreement that more charging infrastructure is needed is good, if not exactly earth-shattering news. It remains to be seen what the administration might propose to quicken the pace of EV charger installations nationwide.
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