Congress' $7.5B for EV Chargers Has Yielded Zero Chargers

With drivers wary to switch to electric vehicles until there are enough chargers, delay could be an issue
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2023 11:20 AM CST
Congress' $7.5B for EV Chargers Has Yielded Zero Chargers
Tesla electric vehicles are seen at Tesla chargers on May 10 in Westlake, California.   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

One of President Biden's main goals in his climate agenda is to have half of the vehicles sold in America be electric by the end of this decade. A more comprehensive, nationwide network of electric vehicle chargers is needed to make this a reality, however, and to date, the $7.5 billion allotted by Congress in 2021 for this effort has so far resulted in a grand total of zero chargers built, per Politico. The outlet reports that $2 billion has already been OKed by federal officials to be sent to states, but not even half of them "have even started to take bids from contractors to build the chargers—let alone begin construction."

Politico adds that the states and the charger industry itself are pointing the finger at a lot of red tape they have to get through regarding performance and contracts before they can qualify for those funds. The issue of how many easily accessible chargers exist has been a thorn in the side of efforts to get nervous Americans to switch over to EVs. In September, citing Department of Energy stats, CNET reported that nearly 6,300 chargers—or about 4% of the nation's total public charging stations—were "unavailable" due to them being broken, needing maintenance, or suffering from a power outage, for example. The outlet noted that about 20% of trips to EV chargers end in vain, due to busted units, long lines, or "other headaches."

Over the summer, seven major automakers struck a deal to team up and expand the US charger network for electric vehicles across the United States, with a plan to add 30,000 fast chargers in cities and along highways to the 32,000 or so that already exist, per the Washington Post. But "the sluggish rollout could undermine Biden's EV-themed reelection messaging and increase the possibility a Republican in the White House could roll back the charging network efforts in 2025," notes Politico, which adds that GOP lawmakers who aren't on board with the EV plan are already trying to stymie its funding. Biden wants there to be 500,000 chargers nationwide by 2030. (More electric vehicles stories.)

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