DOE to Back Nationwide EV Charging Network with $4.5 Billion


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has pledged $4.5 billion in loan guarantees in order to build out a coast-to-coast network of fast-charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs), as intended by the Obama administration, according to a Bloomberg report and a White House release.

According to Bloomberg, this investment aims to expand the EV market by encouraging state, county and local governments to purchase EVs for their fleets through partnerships with automakers such as Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Nissan Motor Co. and Tesla Motors Inc.

As reported, these automakers are increasingly investing in EVs and are working to expand the vehicles’ ranges, as range anxiety is still a very significant concern in many people’s minds. The 2017 Chevy Bolt and the upcoming second-generation Nissan Leaf are both reported to have a 200-mile range, a significant improvement over previous models.

According to the White House fact sheet, the administration specifically intends to do the following:

  • Unlock up to $4.5 billion in loan guarantees and invite applications to support the commercial-scale deployment of innovative EV charging facilities;
  • Launch the FAST Act process to identify zero-emission and alternative fuel corridors, including EV charging across the country, and stand up an effort to develop a 2020 vision for a national network of EV fast-charging stations that will help determine where along the corridors it makes the most sense to locate the charging infrastructure;
  • Announce a call for state, county and municipal governments to partner with the federal government to procure EV fleets at a discounted value;
  • Leverage the power of data, and host an “Electric Vehicle Hackathon” to discover insights and develop new solutions for EV charging;
  • Publish a guide to federal funding, financing and technical assistance for EVs and charging stations; and
  • Get 35 new businesses, nonprofits, universities and utilities to sign on to the DOE’s Workplace Charging Challenge, and commit to provide EV charging access for their workforces.

Bloomberg cites Lynn Orr, undersecretary for science and energy at the DOE, in saying that charging infrastructure has been one of the main roadblocks to widespread EV adoption. With a more complete and expanded charging network, EV popularity is likely to surge.

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