The Biden admin has made big promises with respect to automotive electrification. In the last week, we’ve gotten clarity on some of the specifics, both in terms of supercharging…charging stations…and electric vehicle (EV) sales.
A jolt of funding
Later this week, we could experience something rarer than finding a seat on a crowded train: The US Senate expects to pass legislation that invests in the country’s infrastructure. The bill aims to both update old infrastructure (e.g., bridges) and build out new, increasingly necessary services like EV charging stations.
On that last point…Biden’s lofty-but-crucial goal of building out a network of 500,000 EV charging stations by 2030 was knocked down a few pegs. Initially, he asked for $15 billion, but the number in the latest fact sheet is $7.5 billion. It’s double the total amount of public money that’s flowed into charging stations so far, but just half of what he asked for.
- The US currently has ~41,400 chargers.
- Consulting firm AlixPartners estimates it will cost $50 billion to build out a US charging network that meets 2030 demand.
“In context, it’s a big investment, but relative to the amount that’s needed to really set us up for 100% electrification, it’s a down payment,” Nick Nigro, founder of EV research firm Atlas Public Policy, told Automotive News.
The bill also earmarks $5 billion in funding to “deliver thousands of electric school buses nationwide…and replace the yellow school bus fleet for America’s children.” But it probably won’t be enough to transition 50,000 transit buses over the next five years, as Biden has promised.
How ’bout those cars?
The Biden admin is also going directly to the source on EVs. The White House wants automakers to promise that by 2030, 40% of new vehicle sales will be electric. The two sides are still negotiating the details, like to what extent the US government will help promote EVs.
- US EV sales have more than doubled in H1 2021, but they’re still only about 3% of the total market.
For comparison…the European Union proposed a climate plan in July that would outright ban the sale of new gas- and diesel-powered vehicles by 2035. There, too, EV production will need to ramp up quite a bit—16 million passenger vehicles are sold in the EU each year, but just over 2 million EVs were sold worldwide last year.
Bottom line: Biden’s electrification efforts are significantly more than what the US has made in the past, but they’re also far from enough to meet ambitious goals on their own.—DM