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Biden sets standards for building out national EV charging network

The White House today announced new steps to meet President Biden’s goal to build out its planned network of 500,000 electric vehicle (EV) chargers along America’s highways and in rural communities.

“The Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Department of Energy, is proposing new standards to make charging electric vehicles (EVs) a convenient, reliable, and affordable for all Americans, including when driving long distances,” the White House said in a statement.

This is all part of deploying the $7.5 billion earmarked for EV charging infrastructure in Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The money is broken down into two big chunks - $5 billion for the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program for states to build out charging infrastructure along highway corridors, and $2.5 billion for local grants to support community and corridor charging, improve local air quality, and increase EV charging access for rural and underserved communities. The Department of Transportation will open applications for this program later this year.

The proposed rules were listed in conjunction with a new NPRM (notice of proposed rule making) allowing for public comment on the draft regulation. Among the standards called for in the proposed national charging network are requiring EV charging stations every 50 miles on the national highway system, with each location no more than one mile from the highway. The stations would need at least four DC fast-charging ports per station, for example, as well as standard AC charging ports.

EVgo fast charging stations for electric vehicles are seen in Union Station in Washington, DC, on February 9, 2022. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
EVgo fast charging stations for electric vehicles are seen in Union Station in Washington, DC, on February 9, 2022. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

The charging stations would be required to provide real-time information on pricing and availability at each location, as well as status on operation state. The proposed rule also calls for the software platforms used by the EV charging stations to be standardized across the entire system, as well as network connectivity in order to monitor the stations across the network.

This all comes as the White House and federal government tries to tamp down the effect of higher gas prices across the country. Biden has focused on the transition to EVs as a way to promote energy independence and reduce the effect of climate change.

Both Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigeig were on a call with reporters last night to discuss the plan, highlighting its importance to Biden’s domestic policy agenda.

“If we’re going to build out infrastructure like we haven’t done since the Eisenhower era, we have to do it right,” Granholm said.

Public charging company stocks like EVgo (EVGO), ChargePoint (CHPT), and Blink Charging (BLNK) were mixed in midday trading.

With additional reporting by Rick Newman.

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Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

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