EV owners fed up with the often broken, discombobulated charging experience in the US are about to get a lifeline from the federal government.
The US Department of Transportation is authorizing $100 million to “repair and replace existing but non-operational, electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.” The investment comes from a $7.5 billion pot of money for EV charging that was approved as part of the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The department has already approved around $1 billion for the installation of thousands of new EV chargers along major highways in the US.
Broken EV chargers remain a major barrier to broader EV adoption. And it tends to mar the experience of owning an EV, as many EV owners told JD Power earlier this year in a survey. Overall satisfaction with EV charging in the US has dropped year over year, the market research firm reports, and is now at its lowest level ever.
Even Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is not immune to the struggles of finding a working EV charger. According to The Wall Street Journal, Buttigieg has had difficulty charging his family’s hybrid minivan while out on the road.
“We’ve definitely had that experience,” Buttigieg told the Journal.
According to the Energy Department’s database of public EV chargers, around 6,261 of the 151,506 public charging ports were reported “temporarily unavailable” — or 4.1 percent of the total number. A charger can be identified as temporarily unavailable for several reasons, ranging from routine maintenance to power issues.
The new funds will likely cover the repair or replacement costs “of all eligible projects,” USDOT says, adding that the money will be awarded through “a streamlined application process” that includes both publicly and privately owned chargers — “so long as they are available to the public without restriction.”