President Biden finally held his first official press conference last Thursday, March 25th, wherein he addressed his $2.2 trillion infrastructure bill, albeit from a high level that was light on details. What we do know is that the legislation will include $174 billion dedicated specifically to incentivizing EV manufacturing, the building of charging networks, tax credits for EV purchasers, and the development of alternative fuel technologies. The goal, Biden says, is to have a minimum of 500,000 EV charging stations installed across the country by 2030.
While the cause is noble, CNBC reporter Michael Wayland notes that government support alone may be insufficient to build the infrastructure necessary to spur such an electric revolution, especially in less than a decade. He cites concerns about lagging EV adoption and an analysis by New York-based consulting firm AlixPartners that highlights the high costs of some chargers. (See that full article here: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/31/us-ev-charging-system-a-priority-under-bidens-2-trillion-infrastructure-plan.html.)
We agree that it will take more than government support alone to accomplish the goal of an all-electric future. It will take a commitment from manufacturers to create safe, well-designed, well-appointed vehicles in a variety of styles that will attract customers. It will take a coordinated effort to educate consumers on the economic and environmental value of purchasing an EV. It will take researchers and engineers creating new technology that make greater levels of sustainability achievable and affordable. And it will take companies like EVCS with the skill and expertise to execute a vertically integrated charging network at scale.
In short, it takes a village. However, we also believe this initial investment will serve as a catalyst to greater EV adoption by helping make chargers more pervasive and thereby reducing most consumers’ biggest reluctance: convenient access to power when away from home. As more charging stations go up, so will EV purchases. The cycle will then result in more chargers still to address the growing number of EVs on the road, which will then prompt further EV purchases, and so forth, with the increase in supply ultimately driving down costs across the board.
As the EV market becomes more economically viable, government subsidization will become less necessary. Private enterprises will start investing their own capital in charging infrastructure as it becomes apparent that demand is rising. And while higher-powered chargers like DCFCs (which can fill a typical EV battery to 80% in as little as 20 minutes) may cost more now, the investment will pay dividends by addressing the needs of Americans who are always on the go. Mass EV adoption and improved technology over time will subsequently lead to manufacturing more DCFCs at cheaper prices.
Biden’s plan also includes replacing 50,000 diesel transit vehicles with EVs and electrifying at least 20% of the country’s school buses, which will require many dedicated charging stations to ensure a seamless transition. Furthermore, while companies like Ford, GM and Volkswagen are starting to invest heavily in EV development, they seem to have little interest in building and operating their own charging networks (unlike Tesla), instead leaving it to more experienced entities like EVCS.
We are in a particularly enviable position here, having cut our teeth servicing the most lucrative and demanding EV market in the US. We understand the needs of site owners, drivers and carmakers. We know the assessment, permitting, trenching and installation process inside out, which means significant time and cost savings. We can offer a complete turnkey solution to states and municipalities that receive a share of this federal payout, with charging sites tailored specifically to the needs of each community. For instance, tourist destinations will likely want charging banks at high-traffic points of interest while mining towns may need them near industrial work sites.
Bottom line, wherever this new infrastructure spending takes us, we have the tools and talent to help lay the groundwork for achieving the administration’s goals.