According to a recent Pew Research Center report, 39 percent of Americans say they’re at least somewhat likely to seriously consider buying electric the next time they purchase a vehicle. However, nearly half (46 percent) say they’re not too likely or not likely at all to do so.
While EV ownership in the United States is growing, most Americans still currently drive internal combustion engine (ICE) – aka gas powered – automobiles. In order to make driving EVs more common, EV charging infrastructure must continue to expand throughout the country. In this article, we’ll explain what you need to know about the expansion of EV charging in the U.S.
- The U.S. EV charging infrastructure needs to expand to enable increased EV sales and help remove barriers to charging for EV drivers.
- There are some key government-backed programs and legislation rolling out in 2022 to help expand EV charging, including infrastructure support in rural and underserved communities.
- Many private companies are also putting resources into expanding EV charging infrastructure to support their planned increased EV production and anticipated increases in EV sales.
- It’s more affordable than ever to charge your EV at home, especially with rising gas prices.
- Power your EV with clean energy by going solar through EnergySage!
In this article
- What’s the status of EV charging in the U.S.?
- Why is it essential for the U.S. to expand its EV charging infrastructure?
- What policies will expand EV charging infrastructure?
- Companies expanding EV charging infrastructure
- Can you affordably charge your EV at home?
What’s the status of EV charging in the U.S.?
There are various levels of EV chargers, which essentially indicate how quickly you can charge your EV. Level 1 chargers are slowest but can work with almost any electrical outlet, whereas Level 3 chargers are incredibly fast for use on road trips or long drives.
EV charging infrastructure is expanding in the U.S., but it’s still extremely limited in some states and needs to grow rapidly to support the growing number of EV owners – check out this article to learn more about the current state of EV charging in the U.S. today.
Why is it essential for the U.S. to expand its EV charging infrastructure?
EV sales are growing: a report from Kelly Blue Book shows that while overall car sales dropped 21 percent in the fourth quarter of 2021, EV sales increased by 72 percent. With more EVs hitting the road, there’s a growing demand for EV charging.
The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) outlines in its July 2021 white paper some key details necessary for the U.S. charging infrastructure, including:
- Broad charging infrastructure investments will be needed to support an expanding electric vehicle market. Public and workplace charging will need to grow from approximately 216,000 chargers in 2020 to 2.4 million by 2030.
- This increase means adding 1.3 million workplace chargers, 900,000 public Level 2, and 180,000 Level 3 chargers throughout the U.S.
- While EV charging infrastructure requires an investment, the costs can be shared across many interested stakeholders including electric power utilities, private charging companies, automakers, and property owners.
- Charging infrastructure also provides many benefits including enabling EVs that will themselves have lower upfront costs than conventional vehicles and will deliver thousands of dollars in fuel savings per vehicle by 2030, helping to decarbonize transportation.
What policies will expand EV charging infrastructure?
More and more policy changes are being suggested and implemented to support EV charging infrastructure. Here’s some key legislation that we’re following in 2022:
Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
This bi-partisan infrastructure bill, passed by Congress on November 6, 2021, includes funding geared towards transforming our country’s aging grid along with upgrading various components. It includes specific initiatives related to EV charging, such as:
- Providing $7.5 billion to build out a national network of EV chargers in the U.S.
- Including funding for deploying EV chargers along highways to help long-distance travel and within communities.
- Supporting President Biden’s goal of building a nationwide network of 500,000 EV chargers to accelerate EV adoption, reduce emissions, improve air quality, and create good-paying jobs across the country.
The rollout of this bill includes the creation of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program. The DOT and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) put out a memo with guidance and updates on February 10, 2022, which includes:
- Breaking down the $7.5 billion in funding to $5 billion in the main program and $2.5 billion additional in grants specifically for supporting rural charging and charging in underserved communities.
- Initially focusing EV infrastructure efforts on the Interstate Highway System, directing states to build one charging station every 50 miles. Each station must have the capacity for four DC/Level 3 chargers to work simultaneously.
- To get their funds, each state must first submit its Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan to the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation and have it approved by the FHWA. Plans are due no later than August 1, 2022, with approvals and funds becoming available as early as September 30, 2022.
The Build Back Better Act and EV adoption
The Build Back Better Act (BBBA) — currently stalled in Congress as of February 2022 — focuses on combating climate change among other goals and includes a few components that would also help EV owners. Under the BBBA, all new EVs would again be eligible for the $7,500 tax credit. (Currently, the tax credit isn’t available to anyone purchasing an EV from Tesla, GM, or Chevrolet as those companies no longer qualify for the tax credit based on production limits attached to it.)
As it stands today, the BBBA updates the EV tax credit so that if your vehicle’s battery is made domestically, you’ll get an additional $500 credit and if it’s assembled with union labor in the U.S., you’ll be eligible for a $4,500 tax credit. These tax credits are designed to encourage broader EV adoption and provide an incentive to U.S. manufacturers to produce more EVs..
The EV Charging Action Plan
In December 2021, the Biden Administration announced their EV Charging Action Plan. It outlines steps that federal agencies are taking to support developing and deploying chargers in American communities across the country. The EV Charging Action Plan includes:
- A newly formed Joint Office of Energy and Transportation: combining efforts of the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Transportation (DOT), this newly formed entity will focus on EV infrastructure, leveraging input and guidance from throughout the industry to provide convenient charging.
- Building out EV infrastructure: this includes focusing on a convenient, reliable public charging network, specifically in rural, disadvantaged, and hard-to-reach locations.
- Creating more clean energy jobs: one goal is to drive family-sustaining union jobs that can’t be outsourced.
- State guidance for road trip charging: the DOT recently published guidance for states and cities to deploy EV charging stations as a part of building out a national network along the U.S. highway system.
Companies expanding EV charging infrastructure
Some private companies are also starting to support EV charging infrastructure expansion — including existing charging networks, major automotive manufacturers, and electric companies.
EV charging networks
There are a few major charging networks currently throughout the U.S., including Blink, Chargepoint, Electrify America, EVgo, and Sema Connect. These networks together represent approximately 32,542 EV charging stations and 64,541 charge ports across the U.S. according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center (FDC).
When you think of EV manufacturers, there’s a good chance that you first think of Tesla – and they’re certainly committed to growing their network of EV chargers. Tesla’s supercharger network provides Tesla owners in the U.S. with ample, fast charging throughout the country: it’s one of the first networks built out in the country.
They also announced in July 2021 that they would open their Tesla Supercharger network with some of the fastest charging available to other EV manufacturers (not surprisingly, Tesla owners will still pay less to charge, though). This program has only rolled out in Norway and France so far, and it’s not clear if this will become available in the U.S.
Other car manufacturers are also expanding EV infrastructure to help support their increased EV production. For example, General Motors (GM) is working with EVgo, a growing charging station network with 800 fast-charging locations, to make more than 2,700 fast-charging EV stations available by the end of 2025.
In December 2021, over 50 investor-owned electric companies, one electric cooperative, and the Tennessee Valley Authority – across 47 states and the District of Columbia – joined together to announce the formation of the National Electric Highway Coalition (NEHC). The NEHC’s mission is to provide fast EV charging stations to enable EV drivers to travel along major U.S. travel corridors by the end of 2023. They hope to support the growing number of EVs and aid new EV drivers with the transition from gas stations to chargers.
What about EV fleet infrastructure?
Another essential component of EV charging infrastructure includes addressing fleets such as buses, trucks, and vans. Some private companies are supporting this area as well. For example, in December 2021, bp announced their acquisition of AMPLY Power, an EV charging and energy management provider for fleets that operate trucks, transit and school buses, and vans. They’ve stated a goal of growing their global network of EV charging points from around 11,000 today to more than 70,000 by 2030.
Can you (affordably) charge your EV at home?
There’s sometimes a misconception that home EV charging is expensive, but it’s substantially less inexpensive in most areas compared to buying gasoline — especially if you’re using solar to power your charging. Your exact comparison depends on the cost of electricity in your area and the range of your EV (how far it’ll go on a charge).
The Alternative Fuel Data Center within the U.S. Department of Energy provides this example: If electricity costs $0.13 per kilowatt-hour, charging an EV with a 200-mile range (assuming a fully depleted 66 kWh battery) will cost about $9 to reach a full charge.
Alternatively, filling up a tank of gas, according to AAA, costs on average $3.419/gallon in the U.S., so filling up a 15-gallon tank on an average size car costs $51.29. If you’re looking for the complete breakdown of comparing charging your EV to buying gas, check out our article explaining how much it costs to charge a Tesla.
Explore home EV charging options using our EV Charger Buyer’s Guide.
Power your EV with solar
Charging your EV is usually much less expensive than buying gasoline, even when you factor in charger installation costs. And if you go solar, it’s even more affordable to charge your EV at home! Compare several quotes from pre-screened installers on the EnergySage Marketplace to find the best option that fits your needs (at the right price). As you’re getting quotes on solar costs, just let installers know that you’re planning to charge an EV at home. That way they can help you ensure you have enough energy to power your car with renewable energy.