Electric vehicle owners, fed up with the often broken and confusing charging experience in the US, are about to receive a lifeline from the federal government.
The U.S. 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 fund for electric vehicle charging that was passed as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act of 2021. The department has already approved about $1 billion for the installation of thousands of new chargers. of electric vehicles along the main highways in the United States.
Broken EV chargers remain a major barrier to broader adoption of EVs. And it tends to spoil 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 U.S. has declined year over year, the market research firm reports, and is now at an all-time low.
Even Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg isn’t immune to difficulties finding a working EV charger. According The Wall Street JournalButtigieg has had difficulty loading his family’s hybrid minivan while traveling.
“We’ve definitely had that experience,” Buttigieg told Diary.
According to the Department of Energy’s public electric vehicle charger database, about 6,261 of the 151,506 public charging ports were reported as “temporarily unavailable,” or 4.1 percent of the total number. A charger can be identified as being temporarily unavailable for a variety of reasons, ranging from routine maintenance to power issues.
The new funds will likely cover repair or replacement costs “of all eligible projects,” the USDOT says, adding that the money will be awarded through “a streamlined application process” that includes publicly and privately owned shippers,” as long as they are available to the public without restrictions.”