In November 2021, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). It became the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This EV infrastructure plan offers important infusions of funds into electrification efforts across the country. Part of the goal is to create alternative fuel corridors that will make cross-country electrified travel an easy reality. This will mean better driving for Americans and business opportunities for companies from coast to coast.
That’s all well and good, but what does it really mean? What is even in the EV infrastructure plan, and where will it lead us? Are there limits on how states can acquire or use the funding? How will the money be divided, and what kinds of opportunities are there for companies that want to be involved?
How Much Money?
The Biden administration is throwing a considerable about of weight behind the project. The electric vehicle section of the plan is called the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI). It focuses on installing nationwide EV charging stations. In fact, it included $5 billion USD to make that dream a reality. One target is the installation of 500,000 EV charging stations across the country.
The Future of Transportation
The new plan recognizes the inevitability of electric vehicles as the future of American transportation. It’s a future that governments around the world continue to encourage. Additionally, vehicle manufacturers have continued to throw themselves behind that reality, offering sunset dates on their own gas-powered vehicle productions. Every year, more EVs come to market, and the new and used availability of those vehicles continues to grow.
Instead of ignoring this future, the current administration is seizing it. In doing so, they’re saying that Americans should take control of their own future. Building more EV infrastructure in the US will give the country the ability to own and control its own future. And it’s not bad for the economy, either! That’s because the $5 billion the government is investing will create job opportunities across the country.
Alternative Fuel Corridors
What exactly is an Alternative Fuel Corridor? It’s an expanse of roadway (often a highway) that has conveniently spaced alternative refueling stations for use by the public. In fact, some alternative fuel corridors already exist. For example, the West Coast Electric Highway features DC fast-charging stations every 25-50 miles along I-5 and Hwy 99. It stretches from California all the way into British Columbia, Canada.
President Biden’s new corridors will expand this access across the country. It’s one approach to helping the president achieve a goal of increasing the EV market to 50% of all consumer vehicles sold by 2030. This goal falls in line with others set around the world. The UK will wholly phase out the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2030. Canada will do so as well by 2035. The US is a much larger vehicle market than either the UK or Canada, and its EV infrastructure is not yet ready to deal with a complete ban. That said, the creation of alternative fuel corridors will go a long way toward making a fully electrified future a reality.
Access to Funding
The NEVI program will offer approximately $5 billion in funding over 5 years. Different states will receive different amounts of funding depending on need. The current numbers are not yet final as state plans haven’t been approved. That said, state departments of transportation can now apply for NEVI program funding after creating and submitting infrastructure plans. Those plans must meet certain criteria before being accepted.
One real benefit is that states can choose how to create their EV infrastructure. That might mean making charging stations state-owned or leased or it could mean working with private companies. This range of options enables each state to make decisions that will work best for that location instead of assuming a one-size-fits-all approach to electrification.
What does it all mean?
It means that the government is putting money behind its goals. This kind of sweeping plan spreads not only sustainability but also jobs and opportunities. The future of American transportation lies in America: in its engineers and electricians and planners. These are the people who will make EV infrastructure available across the country, serving all communities and planned to suit each region.
Noodoe strives to enable companies big and small to be part of the electric revolution. We work with both public and private entities to improve access to EV charging hardware and software. Reach out and let us know you’re interested!