Surging Ahead: The Race to Install Over a Million EV Chargers for America’s Green Future


In response to mounting concerns over climate change, governments globally, alongside established automobile manufacturers, are shifting gears towards electric vehicles (EVs) by the end of this decade. As the automotive sector aims for a greener horizon by potentially eliminating emissions by 2035, advancements in the necessary technologies, including solutions to charging challenges and charger scarcity, are expected to progress.

A recent study conducted by the policy institute Third Way indicates that the United States is in need of approximately 1.03 million additional EV charging stations to match President Biden’s ambitions of having EVs account for half of all car sales by 2030.

The present state of the EV charging network is considerably lacking capacity.

“With the ongoing surge in EV adoption, more and more EV charging stations are being developed by the private sector. However, to maintain this momentum and ensure even distribution, including in rural and marginalized areas, federal support is essential,” argue Ellen Hughes-Cromwick and Alexander Laska, the writers of the Third Way report.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill represents a meaningful stride in establishing a comprehensive and accessible nationwide charging network, proposing to finance an estimated 600,000 charging points with its $7.5 billion budget. Nevertheless, Third Way’s assessment concludes that this is far from sufficient, and an additional investment of nearly $15.86 billion is required to cover the cost of the 1.03 million new charging stations.

The report’s authors advise to widen the scope of the 30C Alternative Fuel Refueling Property Credit through budget reconciliation. This incentive provides tax deductions for individuals and businesses installing their own EV charging stations.

The critical factor influencing the decision to invest in an EV, according to a JDPower’s survey, is driving range. Many consumers are poised to transition to electric once a reliable charging infrastructure is in place.

As per the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) report on the latest trends in charging infrastructure, the United States had about 110,000 EV chargers towards the end of 2020, with 96,000 of these open to the public.

This infrastructure is insufficient to sustain the anticipated fleet of electric vehicles by the years 2030 and 2050. Third Way estimates the U.S. will have around 27 million EVs on the road by 2030, which would necessitate nearly 1.125 million public charging stations—or an additional 1.03 million beyond the current count—to meet this demand and reassure consumers that they can recharge their EVs regardless of their location.

Key Takeaways from Third Way’s Analysis:

  • EV sales must encompass 50% of the total light-duty vehicle market to reach the 2030 target
  • To support the sales target, about 27 million EVs will be on the roads by 2030, requiring a network of 1.125 million public chargers
  • An additional $6.5 billion is needed to supplement the current infrastructure funding, in line with the bipartisan infrastructure bill to achieve this large-scale EV support system

Major automobile players including General Motors, Ford, Audi, and Rivian are aligning their EV charging investments with their commitment to electric mobility. Companies outside the auto industry, like 7-Eleven and Walmart, are also participating by setting up charging facilities at their sites to cater to the needs of EV drivers. Yet, the scale of public and private investment must rise substantially to keep pace with the incoming wave of EVs expected by the next decade.

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