According to Joe Biden’s website, the US President-Elect intends to ‘make major public investments in automobile infrastructure — including in 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations’, and ‘create millions of jobs producing clean electric power’.
Although the policy itself isn’t new information, as it was part of his platform as a candidate, Biden’s transportation and energy policies were somewhat overshadowed by… you know, everything else going on during the US election. However, with the news that former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm is the expected pick for Secretary of Energy, that promise looks a lot more hopeful, as Granholm has been a strong voice for the EV movement.
As governor of the auto capital of the US, Michigan, Granholm secured $1.35 billion in federal funding for the state to manufacture electric vehicles and batteries. She sits on the board of electric bus company Proterra, and has pushed for the US to keep pace with China and the EU in electrification, where the nation currently lags behind. Currently, there are about 90,000 public charging plugs in the US – and one-fifth of them are exclusive to Tesla. Biden’s policy, if successful, would multiply that by five times.
Granholm will be supported by Transportation Secretary pick Pete Buttigieg, whose own platform as a presidential candidate was environmentally focused, also mentioning investment in EVs. But it will still be a tough job for the Biden administration to persuade Congress to pay for the plan, which would cost billions – not only to build hundreds of thousands of charging stations, but also to make major upgrades to the US electricity grid to ensure it has the capacity to handle EV charging.
We all know how reliable political promises are, but, as with so many other issues, it would at least be a swift U-turn from the Trump administration, which boosted oil and gas in the name of “energy dominance” and rejected electric-friendly policies.
Currently, the lack of reliable charging across the US is one of the major barriers that keeps the average buyer from considering an electric car, especially outside of major cities. Biden’s policy, coupled with greater availability of affordable EVs for American consumers, would give drivers in the car-dominated land of the free the freedom to make climate-friendly transport decisions.