EV Charging Stations Can Benefit Local Economies

June 11, 2021 - Jurisdictions that hold off on building charging infrastructure until they are sure electric vehicles (EVs) are really coming are likely to be caught flat-footed. “We don’t really have a chicken and egg problem, we have a chicken and waffle problem,” says Chris Nelder, the EV grid integration manager for the Carbon-Free Mobility Practice at the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a clean energy research organization. “The vehicles are definitely coming, so we should stop waffling and build some charging stations.”

Whatever short-term doubts policymakers and local officials might have about electric vehicles, the market has foretold the future. Tesla, the electric vehicle manufacturer, is more valuable than the next six car makers combined. Automakers including GM, Toyota, Honda and Volkswagen have all announced dates for the phaseout of vehicles with internal combustion engines, as have such luxury brands as Volvo and Jaguar.

President Biden’s proposed American Jobs Plan dedicates $174 billion to accelerate the shift to EVs. This figure, which encompasses consumer rebates, tax incentives and purchases of zero-emission transit vehicles and school buses, includes $15 billion to build 500,000 new charging stations. The most recent Republican counter-proposal is $4 billion in total, about 2 percent of the president’s target, and only about 13 percent of the amount for charging stations alone.

There’s no doubt that federal investment at any level would make a difference, but party disagreements about climate won’t be able to stop progress toward EV adoption, no matter what happens with the president’s bill. Enough things are right about this evolution that all stakeholders who examine it closely will be able to see reasons to embrace it.

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