White House unveils $5 billion plan to build out electric vehicle charging stations

Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman joins the Live show to discuss the White House's $5 billion plan to build out electric vehicle charging stations.

Video Transcript

BRIAN CHEUNG: The Biden administration wants to award about $5 billion over the next five years to improve the national network of charging stations. We are expecting-- or it either already started a press conference with the Transportation Secretary, alongside the Energy Secretary, to announce this. So with more details is Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman, who's been following this story. Rick, tell us a little bit more about exactly what they hope to do here with that $5 billion fund.

RICK NEWMAN: So this is charging stations for electric vehicles. President Biden wants half of all new cars sold by 2030 to be electric. And the problem with that, even though these are gaining in popularity, is we just don't have enough charging stations to make these cars feasible for a lot of people. There are something like 45,000 electric vehicle charging stations in the country right now. That might sound like a lot, but those are clustered in population centers mostly on the East and West coasts. And there are large stretches of highways throughout the country where there are no charging stations, or there might only be one or two.

And keep in mind, it takes about 45 minutes at a fast charging station to really-- to fill up your car from zero to full capacity. So a lot of people just will not buy an electric vehicle because they don't think they'll be able to charge it on a long road trip as easily as they can a gas-powered car, and they're right about that. So the idea is to get these new charging stations along the highways first so that you're enabling people to take long road trips, and you remove that fear of running out of juice. And then start to focus on smaller areas and some rural areas. But first, hit the highways. That's what they're trying to do here.

AKIKO FUJITA: And, you know, Rick, when we talk about that goal of 50% of cars or new cars being sold being EVs by 2030, I mean, that requires a massive infrastructure bill that you've got $5 billion worth of charging stations going out, but some estimates say it's got to be $50 billion if you're trying to build a national network. They have an additional $2 and 1/2 to work with if you're talking about how much was set aside in the infrastructure bill. Do we have any idea how that's going to be deployed?

RICK NEWMAN: Right, so $5 billion is actually not a lot in infrastructure terms. Keep in mind, electric green energy investments were a very small part of this bipartisan infrastructure bill that Congress passed and President Biden signed last November. Biden wants a lot more in his Build Back Better legislation. A lot of that is for electric vehicles and other forms of green energy. And of course Congress is somewhat stuck on that.

So I guess, Akiko, you could say this is-- this $5 billion is a start. There's, as you pointed out, another 2.5 or so behind that. Again, that will focus more on rural areas. But we need more, and another big factor here is that electric vehicles are still too expensive for many people. So Biden wants to get some expanded tax credits for people buying electric vehicles. We'll see if that materializes at all this year.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yet those incentives included in the Build Back Better Act, so we'll see if they decide to finally spin that out to try and get those incentives going. Rick Newman, thanks so much for that.