Whether or Not our Infrastructure is Ready
Changes are coming to our roads, highways, and rest stops, many that you may have already seen. Companies such as Tesla, Chargepoint and EVgo are installing electric vehicle (EV) chargers at rest stops and in cities and towns across the country. This is a first and necessary step towards electrifying our transportation system and is as needed as your local gas station for your internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. As consumers look for new cars, they are increasingly interested in EVs, but may be dissuaded due to “range anxiety,” the worry that you won’t be able to charge up when you need it, either on a long trip, or when out and about.
The Biden Administration has introduced new legislation that could address this lack of EV infrastructure. With his new Infrastructure Plan, the President is hoping to install 500,000 EV chargers across the country by 2030. This will include DC fast chargers that can charge a vehicle up to 80% of capacity in around ten minutes. In addition to this funding, there will also be new research funding for innovative technologies to reduce the cost of electric vehicle supply equipment for DC fast charging; funding for commercially available plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and funding for increased workplace charging availability.
A big hurdle to this plan is backing the chargers and increased electrical demand with the infrastructure to support it. Not only do we need to find space for the chargers and get them installed, but we need to have electricity supplies and distribution that can handle that increased load. This plays into the rest of the Biden infrastructure plan, electric transmission lines, energy infrastructure, and updating our old system to something that is more resilient, efficient and cost-effective.
This change is starting now, with companies such as Volkswagen, GM and Volvo making electric vehicle commitments over the next 10 years. The phase out of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles has begun. Many states are proposing new ICE vehicle bans or reductions; California by 2035, Washington State by 2030 and a potential ban of new sales in New York by 2030.
The Federal push for an EV fleet will spur massive growth of EV infrastructure, production and adoption. Large contracts with producers, and a broad rollout of chargers will ease early adopters’ worries about vehicle range, and incentives will help people otherwise unable to transition to an EV to make that choice.
For more information about electric vehicles, charging infrastructure, and resources to help you figure out if an EV is right for you, visit http://www.driveelectricnh.org.
Josh Singer is the Program Coordinator at Clean Energy New Hampshire, where he plans, develops, and delivers technical and educational assistance to communities around NH. He has a Master’s in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law school.