Establishing Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure: Energy and Transportation Departments Collaborate to Assist States

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As billions in federal funding for a national network of electric vehicle charging stations are distributed to states, two key federal agencies are teaming up to speed things up.

On Tuesday, the Transportation and Energy departments announced the establishment of a joint office dedicated to electric vehicle charging infrastructure. It has been all set with the goal of assisting states in expediting the planning and construction of electric vehicle chargers along highways and in hard-to-reach communities across the country. The funding has been generated from President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, which Congress passed last month.

In a statement to CNN, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm called the new office a “significant milestone” in the administration’s overall electric vehicle goals.

“Not only are we helping to protect our planet from the dangers of climate change, but we are also facilitating a shift in the accessibility of electric vehicle charging and creating good-paying jobs that support the manufacturing of sustainable technologies right here at home,” Granholm said in a statement to CNN.

“The goal here is how we bring the best expertise to the national EV charging program,” another Biden administration official said. “We work together quite a bit now, but we all recognize this is a huge opportunity in terms of EV charging.”

On Monday morning, Vice President Kamala Harris, along with Granholm and White House national climate adviser Gina McCarthy, announced the joint venture. Granholm and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday to establish the joint operation.

“With this announcement by DOT and DOE, we are taking a big step forward in tackling our climate crisis by helping make the benefits of EVs more accessible for all Americans,” Buttigieg told CNN in a statement.

States have already been allocated over $5 billion over the next five years to build an interconnected network of charging stations. Texas and California, for example, received substantial sums of money, totaling $408 million and $384 million, respectively. States can apply for additional funding from a $2.5 billion pool allotted for them.

Expanding charging station infrastructure in the United States is a critical step towards encouraging more drivers to switch from gas vehicles to electric vehicles.

“The investments we make in charging infrastructure today are going to be critical in the years ahead as more and more Americans make the shift to electric vehicles,” said Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat, in a statement.