Biden’s Climate Plan Would Install 500,000 Electric Vehicle Chargers by 2030

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Biden’s Climate Plan Would Install 500,000 Electric Vehicle Chargers by 2030” – below is their description.

    In a bid to fight climate change and build a stronger, greener economy, Joe Biden is starting with plugs.

    Specifically, the president-elect has a plan to install 500,000 electric vehicle charging cords by 2030, roughly a five-fold increase in the nation’s EV infrastructure that could cost more than $5 billion.

    The 500,000-unit pledge was part of Biden’s platform when he was running for the job but largely overlooked in a grinding campaign dominated by the pandemic. Now, the industry hopes he’ll stick with it. But it is a wildly ambitious strategy to overcome one of the biggest hurdles facing EVs: Would-be drivers fear they won’t have enough places to charge up. The infrastructure milestone would cover 57% of the charging that U.S. vehicles will need by 2030 and could spark the sale of some 25 million electric cars and trucks, according to forecasts by BloombergNEF.

    “It’s spot-on with what the market needs,” said Cathy Zoi, chief executive officer of EVgo, one of the country’s largest charging networks. “The sweet spot is to actually accelerate the electrification of our transportation, and this can bring that forward by three to five years.” (Biden’s transition team declined to comment on the president-elect’s stated plans.)

    Right now, there are about 90,000 public charging plugs at 28,000 U.S. stations, according to the latest Energy Department tally. However, one in five of those is exclusive to Tesla; of the remainder, only one in 10 tops a car up quickly enough to be useful on a road trip. Most public charging options are still relatively slow—useful for drivers idling at work, for example, or grinding through a long grocery hunt.

    Nevertheless, U.S. charging infrastructure is arguably a little ahead of the EV market. At the moment, there are about 20 U.S. electric vehicles for every public plug—the ideal ratio, according to research from BloombergNEF, is about 40 to 50. At that rate, Biden’s charging push would cover 25 million electric vehicles, roughly 9% of the current U.S. vehicle fleet.

    For automakers, the policy push provides confidence to maintain or accelerate electric vehicle rollouts, even as adoption has been relatively tepid. Car companies plan to offer at least 121 battery-powered machines to U.S. consumers by 2025 and will be able to crank out 1 million of them a year by the end of Biden’s first term.

    Two big questions remain, however: How will the policy be structured, and will Biden’s administration be able to persuade Congress to pay for the plan?

    Biden’s policy team will first have to decide who its charging constituents are. Private networks already have covered much of the country, though it’s still tough for them to turn a profit in two places: dense, urban areas whose low-income apartment dwellers largely park on the street, or in a common lot, and rural interstate corridors where electric vehicles trickle past. If you live in a Queens, N.Y., co-op or work the oil fields of North Dakota, an electric vehicle is probably a logistical bridge too far at the moment. The former is best served by lots of cheap, slow charging units, while the latter demands a few ultra-fast cords, says Nick Nigro, founder of Atlas Public Policy, a Washington consultancy focused on transportation.

    “In principle, the (500K) goal is easy to explain—it fits on a postcard—but it’s as complicated as any major construction program in the U.S. at the moment,” Nigro said. “It’s not just ‘Let’s build the electric vehicle charging site of the future and then copycat it all over the country.’”

    Biden’s team has yet to detail what form of chargers it hopes for and where they might pop up. Still, private charging networks are cheered by the policy push and hope to help the administration craft its plan—and possibly bid on the business.

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    In This Story: Climate Change

    Climate Change is the name commonly given to the notion that the Earth is undergoing a changing climate as a result of human activity, including notable leaders, scientists and naturalists including Sir David Attenborough.

    Climate change includes both the global warming driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases, and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns.

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    Joe Biden is an American politician who served as the 47th vice president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as a United States Senator for Delaware from 1973 to 2009.

    Biden is the Democratic presidential nominee for the 2020 election, running against the incumbent, Donald Trump.

    On August 11, 2020, Biden announced U.S. Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate in the 2020 presidential election.

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