Last week, President Biden brings together executives of the three largest American car manufacturers –Ford,, General Motorsand Stellantis (which makes Fiat-Chrysler vehicles) at the White House. Biden happily drove an electric jeep for the occasion. More importantly, the three companies together have pledged that at least 40 percent, and even half, of the vehicles they sell by the end of the decade will be zero-emission vehicles.
At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, Congress was busy facilitating the achievement of that lofty goal. A bipartisan infrastructure bill, the details of which are not final, would set aside $ 7.5 billion to strengthen the national network electric vehicle bottling plants. Experts say it is much needed money if the US wants to reduce carbon emissions and their emissions increasingly terrible effects on the planet. Twenty-nine percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, and more than half of them come from light vehicles like passenger cars.
A bunch of things have to fall into place if the U.S. wants to achieve the White House goals on electric vehicles by 2030. Last year, about 2 percent of cars sold in the U.S. were electric, nearly half of them in California, which means that sales will have to increase 20 times. Even in that case, that would mean that only about 10 to 11 percent of cars on the road by 2030 will be electric.
Sufficient charging infrastructure will not be the only obstacle to achieving the goal. Car manufacturers will have to fulfill their promises to offer more electric vehicles at lower prices. Utilities will have to take on the extra burden of powering the transport at a price people can afford. Americans will simply have to get used to the idea of discarding cars like they have always known.
But creating more charging stations, especially those that are publicly available, is “the holy grail,” says Mike Nicholas, a senior researcher studying electric vehicles at the International Clean Transport Council, a nonprofit research organization. A recent analysis Nicholas and his colleagues estimate that the country will need 2.4 million public and work chargers by 2030 if it wants to meet its goals. Today there are 216,000 of them.
Biden initially asked for $ 15 billion, which the White House said would provide 500,000 charging stations. Congress has halved the proposal, meaning it is estimated to have enough money for 250,000 fast chargers; if the money is used for cheaper chargers, more could be funded. Considering the charging stations that private industry could build, “they wouldn’t cover everything, but that’s a good start,” Nicholas says.
Here’s the funny thing: Most electric vehicles, especially at the beginning of the transition, are likely to be charged at home, away from public fast chargers like gas stations. Charging at home will be slower, it will probably take all night to recharge the battery. For two-thirds of Americans living in single-family homes, with their own garages and driveways, that might be fine. They return from work, hook up the car and are ready to leave the next day. This is especially true right now, when owners of electric vehicles tend to be more earned, better educated, have more than one vehicle and live in family houses.
But research shows that people with excellent charging capabilities at home get annoyed by the lack of public charging infrastructure, even if they don’t need it as often. Today’s most popular electric vehicles have a range of 250 miles. What happens, potential owners wonder, should they drive 300 miles a day? What types of chargers are there to support them?
On the one hand, this feels like a stupid concern. The average daily trip is less than 40 miles in return, which EV would easily master. But drivers want to know they won’t get stuck, especially if, for example, someone has to go to the hospital and forgot to plug in a car last night.