Back in February, the US announced new standards for a ‘Made-in-America national network of electric vehicle chargers.’
These new standards come as part of President Biden’s plan to build a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers throughout the US, and for 50% of new car sales to be EVs, by 2030. This plan involves investing $7.5 billion into EV charging, $10 billion into clean transportation, and over $7 billion into EV battery components, critical minerals, and materials.
For the charging infrastructure, there are specific standards that must be met. All chargers within this network must be built in the United States, be capable of charging all types of EVs, and have a 97% uptime reliability requirement, among other things.
Federal funding for charging networks in the USA
One of the major positives surrounding the introduction of these new standards is the fact that major federal funding will be made available to build up new charging networks.
According to the official White House announcement, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced details for a ‘Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) discretionary grant program.’ This program will make $2.5 billion available over five years to states, localities, tribes, territories, and public authorities, ‘to deploy publicly accessible charging and alternative fueling infrastructure in communities across the country.’
Many EV charging companies are set to accelerate the rollout of their chargers as a result of this federal funding.
Predictable, reliable, consistent fast DC charging
As well as installing more EV chargers across the country, the new charging standards also call for EV charging stations to be more consistent. Until now, there have never been comprehensive standards in the US that cover the installation, operation, and maintenance of EV charging stations. Currently, EV charging stations in the US come with different connector types and payment methods and vary in reliability.
The new standards, though, aim to ensure that everyone can use all chargers in the network, regardless of what car they drive or which charging connector they require. This will be done by offering consistent plug types and power levels, as well as a minimum number of chargers capable of supporting fast charging.
Chargers will also have to meet a 97% uptime reliability requirement, so they are working when drivers need them. And publicly accessible data will be provided regarding the locations, price, availability, and accessibility of charging stations.
To guarantee a predictable EV charging experience, drivers must also be able to use a single app and account to identify themselves, charge, and pay, meaning chargers provided by different networks must operate similarly.
Chargers under the new standards must also support driver’s needs moving forward, and so must be compatible with ‘forward-looking capabilities like Plug and Charge.’
Increased EV adoption/speeding up the transition towards eMobility
One major advantage of having a greater number of EV charging stations available — especially ones that are consistent and reliable — is that it is likely to encourage more consumers to embrace EVs.
A lack of charging stations and the ‘range anxiety’ this causes is one of the biggest factors which discourage people from buying electric vehicles today. When these new charging standards are fully implemented, this should no longer be an issue, meaning EV adoption is likely to increase significantly.
Something which could potentially boost sales within the US-based auto sector.
Benefits US industry/businesses
Speaking of boosting US-based industry, that’s certainly something the new charging standards are likely to do.
One key aspect of the new standards is the stipulation that effective at once, all EV chargers funded through the new infrastructure law must be built in the United States. This means that ‘final assembly and all manufacturing processes for any iron or steel charger enclosures or housing’ must occur in the United States. And by July 2024, ‘at least 55 percent of the cost of all components will need to be manufactured domestically as well.’
For US-based businesses working in the aforementioned sectors, this will no doubt come as very welcome news.
And with boosts to industry, comes an increased requirement for labor.
Skilled labor will be needed within all the industries related to EV charger production, and trained electricians will have to provide the installation and maintenance of new charging stations.
According to the White House, the new standards will help to ‘ensure that these historic investments in EV charging create good-paying jobs and that EV chargers are well-serviced by requiring strong workforce standards such as Registered Apprenticeships and the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP).’
When it comes down to it, the overall goal of introducing these new standards is to reduce harmful GHG emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change.
And by encouraging the adoption of EVs over internal combustion engine vehicles — which almost always have greater life cycle emissions compared to EVs — there’s a strong chance they will achieve that goal.
Overall, it’s clear there are many positives involved with these new charging standards. But there are also a few potential hiccups and downsides.