Biden administration announces national standards for electric vehicle charging networks

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The Biden administration on Wednesday evening announced new standards to expand electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure throughout the U.S.

The standards will be laid out formally in a proposed rule from the Federal Highway Administration, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told reporters on a press call Wednesday. The rule will require EV charging stations every 50 miles and no more than a mile off the highway, emphasizing the interstate highway system and alternative fuel corridors, according to Buttigieg.

“The proposed rule requires at least four 150-kilowatt DC fast-charging ports per station so that the station can serve multiple customers, and it ensures safe installation and maintenance by qualified technicians, creating new jobs in this EV infrastructure sector,” Buttigieg said.

Buttigieg said the proposal will also bar any EV charging station receiving federal funds from requiring memberships in a club or loyalty program to use the chargers, which “ensures that charging stations funded under these programs can serve a broad range of vehicles … and it sends a market signals toward a standard charging port for stations to accommodate the widest possible set of vehicles and accommodate adapters for all vehicles.”

The Biden administration has set a broader goal of halving U.S. carbon emissions by 2030, and the bipartisan infrastructure law President Biden signed last year includes $7.5 billion for EV charger infrastructure. At the same time, as gas prices soar, the administration has sought to counteract the perception of EVs as a luxury item irrelevant to lower-income consumers beset by gas prices.

The administration included a $12,500 tax credit for electric vehicles in the Build Back Better infrastructure package, which passed the House last year but stalled out in the Senate after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) announced his opposition. Last month, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) told reporters the tax credit was one of the major stumbling blocks for him in ongoing bipartisan climate talks.

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