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DOT announces $623 million in grants to support EV charging infrastructure

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(WASHINGTON) — The Department of Transportation has announced $623 million in grants to support electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure across the country.

“We’re at a moment now where the electric vehicle revolution isn’t coming, it is very much here,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told reporters.

The grants will support 47 projects in 22 states and Puerto Rico, with an emphasis on rural areas and underserved communities. The funding will also lead to the construction of about 7,500 EV charging ports.

The decision comes as the Biden administration is setting a goal of installing 500,000 chargers nationwide by 2030. Sales of EVs have been rising but at a slower rate than past years, with consumers citing high vehicle prices and poor charging infrastructure for the lukewarm response to electric vehicles.

“This charging infrastructure is making sure that everyone from the local business owner to a freight truck operator can conveniently and reliably get where they need to go,” said Shailen Bhatt, the administrator of the Federal Highway Administration.

The projects include $10 million in funding for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to build charging stations for people living in multi-family housing in disadvantaged and rural communities.

Another $15 million will go to the Maryland Clean Energy Center to build nearly 90 EV charging stations across the state at locations which may include Coppin State University, a historically Black university in Baltimore.

The County of Contra Costa in Northern California will also receive $15 million to build chargers at branches of the county’s local library system.

Energy Northwest will receive $15 million as well to install chargers across western Washington State and northern Oregon.

The Chilkoot Indian Association in the Alaskan Panhandle town of Haines will receive $1.4 million to build an EV charging station in the town. Haines, which touts thousands of visitors a year, says its one of the few in the region that is connected by road to Canada and the Alaska Highway.

“As a product of America’s industrial Midwest, I take very personally the importance of the fact that America led the world in the automotive revolution,” said Buttigieg on Wednesday. “We’re very much at the point of needing to assess whether [EVs] will, in fact, be made in America by American workers and whether the benefits will reach all Americans. President Biden’s policies are about making sure that the answer to both of those questions is yes.”

The funding for the grants comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal’s $2.5 billion discretionary grant program for charging and fueling infrastructure.

According to the Department of Transportation, since President Joe Biden took office, the number of electric vehicle models available to consumers has doubled, and by the end of the year, they expect it to double again. EV sales have quadrupled — 1.4 million were sold last year, making up about 9% of all passenger vehicle sales. More than four million EVs are on the roads.

Public charging ports have grown by about 70% and private companies have announced more than $155 billion in investments in EVs and the battery supply chain.

There are currently 170,000 chargers nationwide and the government is on track to meet Biden’s 2030 goal, Ali Zaidi, the White House national climate advisor, told reporters Wednesday.

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