Biden exaggerates impact of T $ 1 bill on electric cars

WASHINGTON (AP) – Boasting about his $ 1 trillion infrastructure package, President Joe Biden overestimated its reach by saying it would result in 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations and fulfill his promise to push half of American drivers to electric vehicles by the end of the decade.

The measure that received final congressional approval on Friday night halved the money that Biden said was needed for charging stations. Money could start flowing to states within a month of signing the bill, although construction cannot begin until the Department of Transportation approves their spending plans.

Although this is a step forward, automakers have made it clear that they will not meet White House targets that half of all new car sales will be electric by 2030. , based on federal investments in this legislation alone.

A look at the assertions versus the facts:

BIDEN: “We are going to build the very first national network of charging stations in the whole country – more than 500,000 of them. … So you will be able to cross the whole country, from the east coast to the west coast, as if you were stopping at a gas station now. These charging stations will be available. – remarks on Saturday.

THE FACTS: Not so much.

The legislation, which awaits Biden’s signature, provides for $ 7.5 billion in federal grants to build a nationwide network of charging stations. That’s less than the $ 15 billion initially cited by Biden to pay for the half a million charging stations he promised during the presidential campaign.

Analysts say the money is a good start, but not enough to drive widespread adoption of electric vehicles.

The International Council on Clean Transportation, a research group, for example, says the United States would need 2.4 million electric vehicle charging stations by 2030 if about 36% of new car sales were electric. In 2020, they were around 216,000.

New chargers should be located based on models that predict where they will be needed, such as along travel corridors for people traveling long distances, as well as in areas where people spend a lot of time, such as hotels, parking lots in apartment buildings and even along public streets, says Jessika Trancik, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who studies electric vehicle charging.

Fast DC chargers, which can charge a car up to 80% of its battery capacity in 20 to 45 minutes, are quite expensive, from $ 40,000 to $ 100,000. These should therefore be placed where people need to recharge quickly and get back on the road.

240-volt electric chargers, similar to a clothes dryer, are much cheaper, around $ 2,000. But it takes about eight hours to fully charge a car, which won’t be as doable on a highway.

The White House acknowledged that the infrastructure bill alone would not be enough and said it would use “all available tools and resources” to cover Biden’s half-million target, as with existing loan and investment programs in the energy and transport departments.

But aiming for a goal isn’t the same as a promise Biden reaffirmed on Saturday.


BIDEN: “Car manufacturers have pledged to make 50% of vehicles electric by 2030.” – remarks Saturday.

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, Energy Secretary: “The auto industry itself has said it wants half of its fleet to be electric, new vehicles sold by 2030.” – interview Sunday on “State of the Union ”from CNN.

THE FACTS: It’s overkill.

While Biden signed an executive order in August setting the non-binding target, major automakers have actually only agreed to a target of 40% to 50% of new electric car sales, depending on the amount of investment. federal.

Automakers, including the ‘big three’ – Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler – say substantial shift to electric vehicles by 2030 can only happen with incentives to buy electric vehicles, adequate government funding for charging stations and money to develop electric vehicles. manufacturing and parts supply chain.

While the infrastructure bill provides for charging stations for electric vehicles, automakers are also counting on passage of a $ 2 trillion spending bill, reserved for Democrats, which has been suspended. Friday in the House as progressives and centrists solve cost issues. This measure should also face changes in the Senate.

The spending bill would provide up to $ 12,500 in credits to consumers off the price of an electric vehicle, including $ 4,500 if the vehicle is manufactured at a unionized plant such as General Motors and Ford. The provision has sparked protests from Tesla and non-national automakers like Toyota and Honda, which produce many of their cars in the United States but whose workforce is not represented by a union, claiming that it will be more difficult for them to sell electric vehicles.

Only 2.2% of new vehicle sales were fully electric vehicles through June, according to estimates from This is up from 1.4% in the same period last year.


BIDEN: “They will see the effects of the bill – this bill – probably starting in the next two to three months. As we get things – shovels in the ground and – in the ground – and people being told they’re going to work doing the following things. And things will change. It is an invoice that is paid over several years.

THE FACTS: He’s in the stadium.

Once the bill is enacted, for example, approximately $ 1 billion – the first year of $ 5 billion of the $ 7.5 billion in electric vehicle funding over five years – is to be distributed immediately to states on the based on a federal formula, which should happen within two to four weeks, said Jeff Davis, a senior researcher at the Eno Center for Transportation.

Yet, under the law, states will not be able to spend the money until the Department of Transportation sets its criteria for plans to build electric vehicles and approves plans submitted by states – a process that could take up to six months.

According to this formula of the Federal Highway Administration, the big states will be the big winners of the federal payment of 5 billion dollars. Texas would receive $ 407 million, California $ 383 million, Florida $ 198 million, New York $ 175 million, and Illinois $ 148 million. In contrast, Vermont’s allocation is $ 21 million and Puerto Rico’s allocation is $ 13 million.

Separately, there is a competitive five-year, $ 2.5 billion grant program that will give the federal government the discretion to allocate funds based on the strategic needs of building an electric vehicle network. The first of this money could take up to a year to distribute as the program is rolled out.

“We want to fill this, so that the rural areas, the poorest areas have access to the necessary (electric) fuel,” Granholm said on Sunday.

Davis said in terms of infrastructure projects more broadly, “From around April 2022 you will start to see very many official announcements of new large grant announcements selected by the Secretary of Transportation from a pool of competitive applicants – highways, public transport, railway, port, airport, gas pipeline, etc.

“Most of them won’t be able to start immediately, but these are signs of progress,” he said.


Editor’s note – A look at the veracity of the assertions of political figures.


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