President and self-proclaimed car enthusiast
Joe Bidenmade his way to the Detroit Auto Show in September. But his appearance wasn’t an empty attempt to win approval from the country’s car industry and culture. He also came with promises to push the transition to EVs forward.
While at the event, Biden announced that the government would invest $900 million to begin building charging stations for
electric vehiclesacross the U.S. The funding will come from the infrastructure law he signed last year.
$900 million is just a slice of the EV chargers to come
The investment announced by Biden in mid-September might seem like a lot of money, but in reality, it’s only a small portion of the federal government’s EV charging investment plans.
In all, the government has set aside $7.5 billion toward developing a network of charging stations for electric vehicles.
New York Timessays that’s expected to amount to 500,000 stations along federal highways and in remote rural areas where there’s little financial incentive for private companies to offer public charging.
In his announcement, Biden says that by the time all the funded stations are up and running, EV chargers will be “as easy to find as gas stations are now.” That said, it will take far more than 500,000 charging stations for that to become a reality.
EV chargers part of a larger economic and environmental agenda
The government’s push for EV adoption is integral to its fight against climate change. Biden’s plan to cut U.S. emissions in half by 2030 will only be possible if drivers shift to electric vehicles in droves.
But the battle is also an economic one. Other nations and governments like China and the E.U. are way ahead of the U.S. on the transition away from gas. Equipping U.S. automakers to drop their internal combustion engines (ICE) will help keep the U.S. economy relevant in the future.
Biden’s recent update to the EV tax credit program highlights this. By next year, credits will only be available for vehicles built in North America using components from friendly countries. The Times says only Ford, General Motors, and Tesla meet the requirements right now.
The personal cost of making the change to EVs
Shifting the whole nation away from gasoline and toward plug-in cars is costing the government billions. For consumers, the change is less dramatic.
While electric cars remain more expensive on average than gas cars, the difference is getting smaller each year. And after you buy a vehicle, charging and maintenance for an EV costs significantly less than the gas and upkeep of an ICE car.
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