U.S. DOT to Distribute $5 Billion to States to Build EV Chargers
Electric vehicles are finally starting to take off in the U.S., but the vehicles now face another challenge — the lack of available chargers. To make electric vehicles more popular and viable alternatives to gas-powered cars, the Department of Transportation (DOT) aims to have 500,000 electric vehicle charging ports across the United States before the end of 2030. The goal is for electric car owners to be able to find a place to charge their vehicles within 50 miles anywhere in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
Government Wants More Chargers
To reach that goal, the government is coming out with a new agency called the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation. The agency combines the Department of Energy and the DOT. One of the first things the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation will do is to distribute $5 billion to states over five years. The agency will also hand out an additional $2.5 billion in "discretionary" grants at a later date.
The funds are coming from the new National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program that was established as part of the bipartisan infrastructure act that was signed into law by President Biden last November. The program mandates that 40 percent of the funds must go toward disadvantaged communities in compliance with the White House's Justice40 initiative.
The NEVI will be handing out funds in chunks. During fiscal year 2022, the NEVI will make $615 million available to states that submit an EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan before August 1. The plan has to get approved before states can begin to use the funds. DOT officials are expecting to approve plans by the end of September. The government agency has a list on how it plans to distribute the funds depending on the state. California will get $56.7 million and Texas will get $60.3 million, while states like Kansas will get $5.8 million and Wyoming will get $3.9 million.
How Will The Money Be Used?
The DOT wants to highlight that the money is being handed out to build charging infrastructure for battery-electric vehicles. The government agency believes that many states will look to private companies to build and maintain the charging stations. There are a lot of specifics on what and how states can use the money. While building charging stations with solar panels to reduce the operation costs of that charger is fine, building solar panels to improve the local power grid to handle the extra chargers is not acceptable.
Before you expect to see chargers in rural parts of the state, most states will focus on charging stations along major interstates before spreading out. Forty states have designed designated Alternative Fuel Corridors, which is where most electric chargers will be placed. Once these are in place, states will have to come out with plans to erect more "community based" chargers.
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