Climate bid faces tricky path over money for electric cars

Climate bid faces tricky path over money for electric cars


WASHINGTON (AP) — The bipartisan compromise on infrastructure cuts in half President Joe Biden’s call for $15 billion to build 500,000 electric vehicle charging outlets, raising the stakes as the administration seeks to win auto industry cooperation on anti-pollution rules to curb climate change.

The Senate legislation provides $7.5 billion in federal grants to build a national network of charging outlets, an amount that analysts say is a good start but isn't enough to spur widespread electric vehicle adoption.

Still, even the smaller amount can be effective if they're placed in the right locations, said Jessika Trancik, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who studies EV charging.

“If there’s half the funding, you have to be twice as strategic and twice as deliberate," she said.

Biden has made combating climate change a policy priority, and the broad compromise bill reached after intense negotiations takes some steps toward his goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. Widespread availability of electric charging stations in communities big and small is the cornerstone of his efforts to switch America’s car and truck fleet from polluting combustion engines to zero-emissions electric. Many drivers are hesitant to make the switch for fear of running out of electricity with no charging station in sight.

The back-and-forth in a closely divided Congress over EV funding reflects a tricky balance for the auto industry and the Biden administration. The transportation sector is the single biggest U.S. contributor to climate change.

Currently there are just over 43,000 charging stations in the U.S. with more than 106,000 outlets, according to the Department of Energy. Fully electric vehicles represented just 2.2% of U.S. new vehicle sales...

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