Biden’s $7.5 billion investment in EV charging has only produced 7(!) stations in two years. Where is the money?

12:00 03.04.2024 •

An electric vehicle charging station
Photo: Washington Post

President Biden has long vowed to build 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations in the United States by 2030. Those stations, the White House said, would help Americans feel confident purchasing and driving electric cars, and help the country cut carbon pollution. But now, more than two years after Congress allocated $7.5 billion to help build out those stations, only 7 EV charging stations are operational across four states, writes ‘The Washington Post’.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which Biden signed in November 2021, included $7.5 billion for EV charging. Of that, $5 billion was allocated to individual states in so-called “formula funding” to build a network of fast chargers along major highways in the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure, or NEVI, program.

But after two years, that program has only delivered seven open charging stations with a total of 38 spots where drivers can charge their vehicles, according to a spokesperson for the Federal Highway Administration. (The funding should be enough to build up to 20,000 charging spots or around 5,000 stations, according to analysis from the EV policy analyst group Atlas Public Policy.) Stations are open in Hawaii, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania and under construction in four other states.

Last month, Republican members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to the Biden administration with a list of questions about the slow rollout of EV chargers.

“We have significant concerns that under your efforts American taxpayer dollars are being woefully mismanaged,” wrote Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) and Morgan Griffith (R-Va.). “The problems with these programs continue to grow — delays in the delivery of chargers, concerns from States about labor contracting requirements and minimum operating standards for chargers,” the letter continued.

“We are building a national EV charging network from scratch, and we want to get it right,” a spokesperson for the Federal Highway Administration said in an email. “After developing program guidance and partnering with states to guide implementation plans, we are hitting our stride as states move quickly to bring NEVI stations online.”

A White House spokesperson said in an email that the nation’s public charging network has grown substantially since Biden entered office, and that the administration expects the nation to reach the goal of 500,000 charging stations by 2026.

The United States currently has close to 10,000 “fast” charging stations in the country, of which over 2,000 are Tesla Superchargers, according to the Department of Energy. Tesla Superchargers — some of which have been opened to drivers of other vehicles — are the most reliable fast-charging systems in the country.

But many non-Tesla fast chargers have a reputation for poor performance and sketchy reliability. EV advocates have criticized Electrify America, the company created by Volkswagen after the company’s “Dieselgate” emissions scandal, for spending hundreds of millions of dollars on chargers that don’t work well. The company has said they are working to improve reliability. The data analytics company J.D. Power has estimated that only 80 percent of all charging attempts in the country are successful.


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