President Biden's trillion-dollar infrastructure package included billions of dollars to fund an ambitious plan to construct a massive nationwide electric vehicle (EV) charging network, but has yet to yield a single charger two years later.
Overall, the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) earmarked $7.5 billion for electric vehicle chargers – $5 billion for the so-called National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program and another $2.5 billion in discretionary funds for charging and fueling infrastructure – as part of the federal government's ambitious effort to expand EV ownership and reduce carbon emissions.
However, just $101.5 million has been distributed for seven state NEVI awards and just two projects, located in Columbus, Ohio, and Pittston, Pennsylvania, have begun construction, according to the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation which was established by the IIJA. At its current pace, the billion-dollar program, designed to build out a network of 500,000 chargers and award $5 billion in five years, will fund a handful of projects and dish out just $250 million in that time frame.
"Too many members of Congress think Field of Dreams is a blueprint for infrastructure: build it and they will come. No, they won’t come. Because Americans didn’t want EVs when this wasteful spending was passed and they don’t want them now, even with all the massive subsidies and incentives to buy EVs," Daren Bakst, the director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Center for Energy and Environment, told Fox News Digital.
Bakst added that car dealers are continuing to warn of waning interest in EVs and manufacturers are rethinking their EV strategies. Last month, in a letter to President Biden, a coalition of thousands of car dealers from around the country said they opposed any EV mandate, saying "enthusiasm has stalled" for EVs and noting their lots are full of EVs consumers don't want.
Bakst further called for Congress to fully defund the NEVI program to save taxpayers money.
"Market realities influence the states that play a central role in whether EV chargers will be built," Bakst continued. "Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise that no EV chargers have been built using the $7.5 billion. States don’t want to waste time and money on building EV chargers that will fail."
"The lack of demand for EVs is part of the equation, but so too are the technological shortcomings of EVs and the rural nature of many states," he said. "Then there’s also the Biden administration imposing inflexible and stringent federal requirements, something that states have said will cause problems in implementing the NEVI program. As it is, more than half of the states have not even started soliciting bids for EV chargers."
According to the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, the seven public conditional NEVI awards were announced in Ohio, Hawaii, Maine, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Alaska and Kentucky. And 17 states are in the process of soliciting more proposals and applications for future EV charging station projects, a process that can take months or years.... (Read more)
Submitted 85 days ago