White House announces plan for new standards for first-ever national network of 500,000 electric car chargers

The White House announced today a plan to develop new standards for what they have been describing as the “first-ever national network of 500,000 electric car chargers.”

While many potential EV buyers were hoping Build Back Better Act to pass for the new EV incentives, the government passed another infrastructure bill last year that already had significant investments for electric vehicles.

It included $7.5 billion for EV infrastructure and $7.5 billion to electrify public transport.

Over the last year, the government has been evaluating how to distribute that money.

Today, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Energy announced that they are establishing new standards for the electric vehicle chargers that they are going to finance:

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. Without strong standards, chargers would be less reliable, may not work for all cars, or lack common payment methods. The new standards will ensure everyone can use the network –no matter what car you drive or which state you charge in.

The standards are going to be established through a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and the goal is to develop minimum standards.

The DOT wrote in a press release:

These minimum standards will help ensure our national EV charging network is user-friendly, reliable, and accessible to all Americans, and interoperable between different charging companies, with similar payment systems, pricing information, charging speeds, and more. The proposed rule would establish the groundwork for states to build federally-funded charging station projects across a national EV charging network, an important step towards making electric vehicle charging accessible to all Americans. No matter what kind of EV a user drives, what state they charge in, or what charging company they plug into, the minimum standards will ensure a unified network of chargers with similar payment systems, pricing information, charging speeds, and more. The standards also establish strong workforce requirements for installation, maintenance, and operations to increase the safety and reliability of charging station function and use, and create and support good-paying, highly-skilled jobs in communities across the country.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg commented:

To support the transition to electric vehicles, we must build a national charging network that makes finding a charge as easy as filling up at a gas station. These new ground rules will help create a network of EV chargers across the country that are convenient, affordable, reliable and accessible for all Americans.

Companies that are looking for federal funding to deploy charging stations are going to have to meet those standards.

Electrek’s Take

This should be good, but it could also be abused. Every company in the EV space is going to try to push standards that match what they are selling.

I hope that they stick with a minimum of 150 kW for fast chargers, but that there are also incentives for more powerful charging stations. I think there will also be standards to make payments easy and maybe something about the number of chargers per station.

What would you like to see implemented in those standards? Let us know in the comments section below.

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