America is shifting gears on plans for the installation of a new infrastructure grid — an electric vehicle (EV) charging network — across the country.
As part of a $2 trillion infrastructure bill, president Biden has put forward a plan to invest $174 billion through grant and incentive schemes into the development and adoption of EVs across the country.
In March, America officially passed the 100,000 mark of public EV charging stations, according to the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuel Data Center. Now, the Biden administration wants the construction of 500,000 charging stations by 2030. To put this in perspective, there are 168,000 gas stations in America, according to the US Department of Energy.
The majority of EV charges will likely be done from people’s homes, but for longer journeys, fast charging stations will be essential to the success of EVs — no one wants their car to run out of charge halfway down Route 20. So, the plan is for new chargers to be distributed throughout convenient spaces such as public parking and apartment buildings.
At the moment, the EVs using the current network of charging stations are predominantly Tesla, which dominates the American market. In the last 3 years, Tesla held all three top spots with the Tesla Model X, Model S and Model 3, selling 430,592 out of a total combined unit sales of 568,881. But the other automotive companies are investing heavily to catch up. Between 2020 and 2025, GM will invest more than $27 billion in EV and AV (automated vehicle) product development.
It is a vast project and there will be, of course, bumps in the road. So many more EVs means a need for much more cleaner electricity and more efficient transmission cables. And EV sales in the US still account for only 2% of the overall car market.
But most analysts and companies believe we are now turning the corner. In the US alone, the number of EVs on the roads is projected to reach 18.7 million by 2030, about 7% market share, according to the Edison Electric Institute. The institute estimates about 9.6 million charge ports will be required to support this number of EVs.
Biden hopes his infrastructure bill will stimulate investment and create jobs, not only with charging stations, but across the EV sector with technology development, manufacturing, the power grid, and the mining of the raw materials needed to build this future. Which means a major potential upswing for the nickel industry, a mission component of EVs, to keep up with demand.