TOP News

US: Biden's electric vehicle plan includes expanding charging stations. Is it enough?

Daily on Energy: Natural gas reduction of power emissions has run its course

  Daily on Energy: Natural gas reduction of power emissions has run its course Subscribe today to the Washington Examiner magazine and get Washington Briefing: politics and policy stories that will keep you up to date with what's going on in Washington. SUBSCRIBE NOW: Just $1.00 an issue! © Provided by Washington Examiner DOE Default Image - July 2021 POWER SECTOR EMISSION REDUCTIONS GET HARDER: The easy part is over for reductions in power sector emissions, and if trends continue, they could flatline, the conservative ClearPath Foundation warns in a new report out this morning.

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden's proposal to build thousands of electric vehicle charging stations could begin revolutionizing the nation’s highway grid if Congress passes a bipartisan infrastructure bill that includes $7.5 billion for the initiative.

President Joe Biden speaks about the bipartisan infrastructure bill and his Build Back Better agenda at the International Union of Operating Engineers Training Facility in Howell, Mich., on Oct. 5. © NICHOLAS KAMM, AFP via Getty Images President Joe Biden speaks about the bipartisan infrastructure bill and his Build Back Better agenda at the International Union of Operating Engineers Training Facility in Howell, Mich., on Oct. 5.

As automakers expand their lineup of electric cars, the funding for the charging stations would represent a historically large down payment on Biden's plan to aggressively reduce greenhouse gas levels by 2030. Transportation makes up 29% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, more than any other sector.

Sinclair Broadcast Group Says Some of Its TV Stations Hit By Ransomware Attack

  Sinclair Broadcast Group Says Some of Its TV Stations Hit By Ransomware Attack The Hunt Valley, Maryland-based company owns or operates 21 regional sports network and owns, operates or provides services to 185 TV stations in 86 markets.The company, which operates dozens of televisions stations across the country, said that it began investigating the apparent ransomware encryption over the weekend and found that some of its office and operational networks had been impacted.

But an important question remains unanswered: Will a massive expansion of stations be enough to convince drivers to trade in their gas-powered vehicles for electric ones?

Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

Advocates applaud the money for charging stations as a good start even though Biden's original request of $15 billion was cut in half by Congress. But they warn that convincing drivers to trade in their gas-powered cars for non-emitting vehicles won't happen on a large scale unless they feel comfortable they won't be stranded because they run out of power.

"Certainly there are people who are driven by environmental concerns, but for most folks, they just need their transportation to do what it needs to do, whether that's carry kids or drag their boat or deliver the mail," said Genevieve Cullen, president of the Electric Drive Transportation Association. "So they need to be reassured of that. And the key to that is knowing that there is abundant infrastructure."

Big changes in White House ideas to pay for $2 trillion plan

  Big changes in White House ideas to pay for $2 trillion plan SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — In an abrupt change, the White House is floating new plans to pay for parts of President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion social services and climate change package, shelving a proposed big increase in corporate tax rates though also adding a new billionaires' tax on the investment gains of the very richest Americans. The reversal Wednesday came as Biden returned to his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, to highlight the middle class values he says are at the heart of the package that Democrats are racing to finish. Biden faces resistance from key holdouts, including Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.

Nearly two-thirds of car shoppers say additional stations would help convince them to buy an electric vehicle, according to a February survey of car owners by car-buying site CarGurus.

More: More electric car charging stations needed to juice EV sales: Is Biden's 500,000 proposal on target?

“We're heading towards a battery-electric vehicle future, a fuel cell vehicle future, a hybrid future, plug-in hybrid vehicle future,” Toyota North America executive vice president Chris Reynolds said on a recent conference call with reporters. “Let's make sure we have the infrastructure to support that.”

The infrastructure bill has hit a roadblock, however.

The measure is idling on Capitol Hill as lawmakers struggle to reach agreement on a larger package of climate and social safety net programs that progressive Democrats are pushing. They say they won't vote for the infrastructure bill unless the larger bill gets a vote on the House floor as well.

Fact check: Electric vehicles were used in early 1900s but faded amid cheaper gas options

  Fact check: Electric vehicles were used in early 1900s but faded amid cheaper gas options A graphic shared online may have correctly identified electric vehicles from 1917 but misses the mark on the history of electric cars.Due to consumer demand largely springing from China and Europe, electric vehicles sales are expected to surpass their gasoline-guzzling counterparts by 2036 at the latest, according to a June Bloomberg report.

More: 'These issues are hard': Coal country's centrist senator may hold up Biden's climate change agenda

The larger bill, known as the Build Back Better Act, has money for electric vehicle infrastructure as well: $13.5 billion to support new charging infrastructure in publicly accessible locations, outside apartment buildings, workplaces, and underserved areas, as well as to support electrification of industrial and medium-heavy duty vehicles.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week the bill will have to be pared back from its $3.5 trillion price tag, though it's unclear where those cuts would happen.

Even if the money for charging stations survives intact, some lawmakers say it's not nearly enough. House Democrats Debbie Dingell of Michigan and Yvette Clarke of New York are urging their colleagues to allocate $85 billion – four times the combined amount in both bills – for charging infrastructure.

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., right, the ranking member, as they continue work on the © J. Scott Applewhite, AP House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., right, the ranking member, as they continue work on the "Build Back Better" package, cornerstone of President Joe Biden's domestic agenda, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ORG XMIT: DCSA107

"If we are to make the rapid transition to a zero-emission and zero pollution future, we must seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to go big, go bold, and build the infrastructure that will take us into the 21st Century," they wrote in a recent letter to congressional leaders signed by 26 other House lawmakers.

Pompeo blames missing $6,000 whisky on State Department 'incompetence'

  Pompeo blames missing $6,000 whisky on State Department 'incompetence' The former Trump official broke his silence on what he called 'the great case of the missing whisky bottle' on Fox News. Pompeo said he never even received the bottle himself, but offered help finding it.The former Secretary of State broke his silence on what he called 'the great case of the missing whisky bottle' in an interview with Fox.

Money could help spread out charging stations to ease 'range anxiety'

Perl Hollingsworth would love to trade his gas-guzzling Dodge Durango for an electric car. But the 51-year-old lawyer won't because there's no charging station near enough to his Washington, D.C., home.

""the closest charging station is a mile from my house so how the heck am I gonna manage that?  Am I gonna drive every night, park my car (while it charges) and walk home? Walk back in the morning?," he said "It's just not convenient enough."

He could charge up at work but he's been at home during the pandemic. And even when he does make it to the office, all the chargers are usually taken.

One of the issues the money could fix is the imbalance of where charging stations are located, a disparity that fuels what's called "range anxiety."

While the Electric Drive Transportation Association estimates roughly 80% of charging takes place at home or at work where drivers can wait as they power up, getting Americans to take electric vehicles on long road trips or to remote areas will require a broad distribution of stations in places that have few now – if any.

More: What you need to know about electric vehicles as President Biden, automakers announce EV goals

There are nearly 50,000 charging stations across the country, according to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Energy.  Each station typically offers several to a dozen or more plugs.

Daily on Energy: Biden has automakers on board with electric vehicle goals, but will need buyers

  Daily on Energy: Biden has automakers on board with electric vehicle goals, but will need buyers Subscribe today to the Washington Examiner magazine and get Washington Briefing: politics and policy stories that will keep you up to date with what's going on in Washington. SUBSCRIBE NOW: Just $1.00 an issue! © Provided by Washington Examiner DOE Default Image - July 2021 AUTOMAKERS ON BOARD, CONSUMERS NEEDED: President Joe Biden’s new target for 50% electric vehicle sales follows the direction automakers were already going on their own, but it will likely push them farther and faster. Indeed, the Big 3 U.S.

Nearly a third are in California with New York, Florida, Texas and Massachusetts rounding out the top five but far behind. Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana have the fewest.

The top ten counties are heavily concentrated in California with Los Angeles having the most with 3,257. On the other side, about a third of all US counties – 1,329 – do not have a single electric vehicle charging station, while another 1,048 have five or fewer, based on federal data analyzed by USA TODAY.

But Hollingsworth's situation shows that even in a city like Washington which has lots of charging stations still poses challenges and fosters "ranger anxiety."

It's not just where the stations are that matter but how far drivers have to travel from station to station to power up. The threat of conking out is much less in counties with multiple stations. Drivers in those counties with fewer plug-in options must be constantly aware not only of their range but also of their battery power, both of which are tracked closely in electric vehicles.

Not every electric vehicle travels the same distance on a single charge and stations don't always offer the same charging capacity. And while it takes only a few minutes to fill up on gas (and there's usually a pump available), it takes much longer to fill up on electricity.

For now, charging times vary widely depending on the vehicle and voltage rates. The average EV can get a complete fill-up in anywhere from 30 minutes on the speediest available "fast" charger to a couple of days on a standard plug, according to Kelley Blue Book.

After Tesla deal, Hertz will add Superchargers to some Valley locations

  After Tesla deal, Hertz will add Superchargers to some Valley locations Hertz is poised to install electric vehicle charging stations at many of its U.S. operations after announcing plans to buy 100,000 Tesla EVs.The rental car company announced Monday that it plans to buy 100,000 electric vehicles from Tesla by the end of 2022.

More: 'Code red for humanity': UN report gives stark warning on climate change, says wild weather events will worsen

The longest-range vehicles now get about 300 miles of range, though longer-range cars are in the works, such as a version of the Lucid Air electric sedan that will offer more than 500 miles on a single charge.

Updated power grid also a must

It's not a simple matter of plopping down charging stations in places that don't have them. The local power grid has to be modernized to accommodate the projected surge in electricity usage EVs will command, Cullen said.

"if you have a whole fleet of electric school buses, and they all come home to their depot to charge at the same time, hundreds of kilowatt hour batteries, that's going to be a lot of power," she said "So you have to be able to plan for and manage that power."

And that will be expensive, according to a report form the Boston Consulting Group, which estimates that by 2030 an additional $1,100 investment in grid upgrades will be needed for each electronic vehicle sold.

"This would translate into around $25 billion in power grid investment," the group reported.

In addition, the Zero Emission Transportation Association which wants every car sold by 2030 to be electric, is calling for the development of model building codes, particularly multi-unit and urban parking structures, to include charging infrastructure. Many Americans don’t have access to a charger or can’t afford one on their own, since they can cost thousands of dollars.

The availability of charging stations is likely to impact Biden's executive order signed in August setting a target that half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 be zero-emissions vehicles, including battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, or fuel cell electric vehicles.

Only about 1 in 50 vehicles sold in 2020 were electric though that share is slowly increasing. Zero-emission vehicles represented nearly 4% of all vehicles sold during the three-month period ending in June, the highest for any quarter to date according to the Alliance for Automotive Innovation.

Car emissions: Biden announces new standards, target that 50% of vehicles sold in US by 2030 are electric

  Car emissions: Biden announces new standards, target that 50% of vehicles sold in US by 2030 are electric Speaking from the White House South Lawn on Thursday afternoon in front of four electric vehicles, Biden said the future of America's car manufacturing "is electric and there's no turning back."Biden signed the executive order at the White House alongside representatives from Ford, GM and Stellantis, and members of the United Auto Workers Union. The automakers are supporting Biden's new target, announcing their "shared aspiration" that 40-50% of their cars sold by 2030 to be electric vehicles, according to a joint statement from the three automakers.

While automakers like General Motors, Honda and Volvo say they aim to phase out gas engines in the next 10 to 20 years, a lack of public electric car charging stations is widely viewed as a threat to those plans.

But even then, a study released in February by the Energy Institute at the University of California Berkeley's Haas School of Business found that owners drove their EVs about half the mileage annually compared to the average gas-powered vehicles.

"All told, this suggests that households may not yet view EVs as a good substitute for their gasoline-powered cars and that, unless there are major improvements in EV technology, regulators and policy-makers have more work to do to convince drivers to abandon their gasoline-powered cars for EVs," the analysis found.

Cullen said it's about changing an in grained culture in America where drivers are so accustomed to driving gas-powered vehicles despite the fluctuating cost of fuel and the constant maintenance of an internal combustion engine.

"People are comfortable with it and therefore they think it's the best way to do it but it's turns out," she said. "You just have to get in one."

How quickly a future of electric cars zipping across the country materializes could well depend on what Congress decides should be in the spending bill currently being negotiated.

During a visit to a union hall in Michigan last week, Biden implored lawmakers to make sure that whatever deal they reach on his Build Back Better Act includes a significant investment to de-carbonize the highway system.

"The whole world knows that the future of the auto industry is electric," he said. "We need to make sure America builds that future instead of falling behind."

Contributing: Matt Wynn

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden's electric vehicle plan includes expanding charging stations. Is it enough?

Car emissions: Biden announces new standards, target that 50% of vehicles sold in US by 2030 are electric .
Speaking from the White House South Lawn on Thursday afternoon in front of four electric vehicles, Biden said the future of America's car manufacturing "is electric and there's no turning back."Biden signed the executive order at the White House alongside representatives from Ford, GM and Stellantis, and members of the United Auto Workers Union. The automakers are supporting Biden's new target, announcing their "shared aspiration" that 40-50% of their cars sold by 2030 to be electric vehicles, according to a joint statement from the three automakers.

See also