White House reaffirms charging station pledge for electric vehicles

Photo (c) athima tongloom - Getty Images

Consumers still need some convincing, particularly older ones

The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it is renewing its pledge to build out a nationwide network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers.

But increasing the number of charging stations isn't the only goal. The administration is now bringing in the Department of Energy and Department of Transportation to make charging electric vehicles convenient, reliable, affordable, and adaptable for everyone. 

“The new standards will ensure everyone can use the network – no matter what car you drive or which state you charge in,” White House officials said in a statement. “The proposed standards, along with new coordinated federal actions on EVs, support President Biden’s priorities to lower costs for families, create good-paying jobs, and combat climate change.”

Promoting the pluses

Biden’s goal of having EVs account for half of new vehicles sold by 2030 is rather ambitious, but he feels that tax credits could help make that happen. He said he is pushing Congress to provide tax credit incentives that should make EVs more affordable, not to mention a respite from unstable gas prices.

Another benefit that Biden is pitching is that building out a national charging system will require steelworkers, electrical workers, and laborers to build, install, and maintain the network. He said he’s lined up investment commitments of over $100 billion from private companies to make more EVs and their parts in the U.S. and to cover the cost of hiring workers.

The president feels that making chargers and EVs more attainable for the public will also help address high emissions and lead to cleaner air.

“Everyone deserves a chance to benefit from EVs,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said during a call with the media. “We’re paying attention not only to the quantity of EV chargers but also their quality. Everyone should be able to find a working charging station when and where they need it.”

Consumers still need convincing

Even though America’s EV market experienced a major breakthrough in 2021 – selling close to 607,000 vehicles – and the minimum annual average fuel cost of all-electric light-duty vehicles is about $550 cheaper than gasoline vehicles, EV automakers have their work cut out for them. 

Statista’s analysis of a recent EV study found that the savings simply weren't impressive enough to move the needle on sales.

“Around 13 out of 20 consumers perceive the overall cost of electric vehicles to be worse than the cost of gas-powered vehicles, along with reliability and driving experience," the researchers said. "Younger generations—Millennials and Generation Z—were reported most likely to buy an electric vehicle compared to Generation X and Baby Boomers; however, a large amount of U.S. car owners were between 50 and 74 years old, well outside the main demographic interested in EVs.

“Better consumer education could offer a means of overcoming this hurdle: Over half of survey respondents with good previous knowledge of electric vehicles reported being very or somewhat likely to purchase a car from this segment.”

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