Do you enjoy a long road trip down the scenic country roads John Denver sang about? As you drive, do you think about the effects your car’s emissions might have on the landscape you enjoy? If you drive an electric vehicle (EV), you likely already know you’re doing your part to preserve the view. If not, switching to an EV is one way to cut your emissions – and positively impact the environment. Driving an EV is also becoming a more practical road trip option as the charging network expands.
Many drivers worry about finding charging stations on long drives, but that is changing rapidly. In 2021 alone, the number of EV charging ports grew more than 55%. That number has continued to grow in the years since. Between new laws and commercial initiatives, efforts are underway to expand EV charging infrastructure and reliability across the nation.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
This federal law was passed in November 2021. It allocated $7.5 billion for EV charging, aiming to build out the country’s charging network and reach the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of 500,000 public EV charging ports. It also allocated funds to clean transportation and EV battery components, critical minerals and materials for manufacturing.
On top of that, to help boost the U.S. economy, EV chargers funded through the law must be built in the U.S., and at least 55% of the cost of all components must be for those manufactured in the U.S. by July 2024.
The United States Department of Transportation is already taking advantage of the funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to expand EV charging nationwide.
Several companies in a variety of industries have committed to invest in thousands of new public charging ports. Among them are Tesla, General Motors, EVgo, Pilot, Hertz and BP. The White House announced in February 2023 Tesla will add at least 3,500 superchargers with a power of 250 kilowatts each along highways and set up what are known as level 2 destination chargers at various locations like hotels and restaurants across the country.
Currently, most of Tesla's charging stations are designed with a specific plug that only fits its own vehicles. By the end of 2024, Tesla also plans to open up over 7,500 of its charging stations for use by all EVs, making it possible for non-Tesla EV owners to charge their cars at these stations without an adapter.
Some governments are implementing standards that help make sure newer buildings will accommodate EV charging. For example, new state buildings in Connecticut above a $100,000 project cost are required to install EV charging stations in at least 20% of car parking spaces as of Jan. 1, 2023. Additionally, new commercial and multi-unit residences with at least 30 car parking spaces must be able to support charging stations at 10% of their spaces. In the European Union, new laws ensure stations will be built every 60 kilometers, or about 37 miles, on major roads.
With over 3 million EVs on the road in the U.S. as of May 2023, making EVs more accessible is a priority in both the public and private sectors. With the current work being done to install EV chargers, we can reduce our driving’s impact on the environment and protect road trip scenery for years to come.