A Chevy Bolt and a Ford Lightning Drive Up to a Tesla Supercharger …

White House Reveals US Network of EV ChargersTesla
  • The Biden administration plans to have 500,000 EV recharging stations built across the nation by 2030 as part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

  • The legislation requires an infrastructure that makes charging a reliable experience, with 97% uptime.

  • The Federal Highway Administration requires a minimum of four ports at a charging station to receive funding, whether DC fast charger, AC Level 2, or a combo of the two.

Beaches from the Silver Strand in Oxnard, California, to El Quemao in the Canary Islands have long been the site of “surf wars” where locals do not like to share their waves with others.

A National Geographic blog published April 26, 2016, describes how “A ‘gang’ of local surfers, dubbed the Bay Boys, have been driving interlopers—fellow surfers, the general public, even the media—from their beach on Lunada Bay (Palos Verdes Estates, California) since the 1970s.”

This sort of surfing culture came to mind last week (Feb. 15) when the White House released its fact sheet announcing “new standards and major progress for a Made-in-America National Network of Electric Vehicle Chargers.”

Of myriad private initiatives supporting the Biden administration’s plan to have 500,000 EV recharging stations built across the nation by 2030 as part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the one that media emphasized was Tesla’s deal to make “at least 7500 chargers available for all EVs by the end of 2024. … The open chargers will be distributed across the United States. They will include at least 3500 new and existing 250-kW Superchargers along highway corridors to expand freedom of travel for all EVs, and Level 2 Destination Charging at locations like hotels and restaurants in urban and rural locations.”

By the weekend The Wall Street Journal reported that some loyal Tesla owners were “unnerved” by the plan. One Seattle Tesla owner told the newspaper that Superchargers in his city are already overrun with demand and opening the network to others will compound the problem.

Tesla, which does not have a PR department save possibly for CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter, has long promised to open its Superchargers to other brands (which use a different connector standard), so there’s no reason to believe Tesla drivers “balking” at the plan will get as militant as, say, the Bay Boys.

In fact, we reached our Tesla-owner friend “Pat” in the middle of recharging. Pat doesn’t share the concerns of the Tesla owners the WSJ interviewed.

“I think it’s a good thing: The interoperability of all chargers is probably going to be more helpful longer term than any short-term congestion.” Pat welcomes the potential reinvestment of Tesla’s share of the $7.5-billion infrastructure money back into the network. “As long as they mind the wait times, the more the merrier,” Pat says.

Kia EV6 charges up.Murilee Martin - Hearst Owned

Since White House release of the details, @TeslaCharging tweeted, “Our US network will more than double by the end of 2024 to support our growing Tesla fleet and new EV customers.” It received 625 retweets, 5674 likes, and 135 retweets, including one owner who replied; “Just curious, is there any priority given for Tesla owners?”

He suggested a solution modeled after airlines for “frequent travelers with priority boarding” to offer Tesla owners priority in the recharging line.

Other private initiatives boosted by the bipartisan infrastructure bill include General Motors’ partnership with FLO—which is constructing its first US charger factory in Auburn Hills, Michigan—to install “up to” 40,000 public Level 2 chargers in local communities by 2026.

Mercedes-Benz has a deal with ChargePoint and MN8 Energy to deploy more than 2500 DC fast-charging ports across the US and Canada, while Ford Motor Company plans to install “at least one public-facing DC fast charger with two ports” at 1920 of its dealerships by January 2024. ChargerHelp! has a partnership with SAE International to develop “next-generation” electric-vehicle service equipment maintenance technicians (EVSE).

Bipartisan infrastructure requirements:

•Charging is a predictable and reliable experience

•Chargers are working when drivers need them to (the 97% uptime reliability requirement)

•Drivers can easily find a charger when they need to

•Drivers do not have to use multiple apps and accounts to charge

•Chargers will support drivers’ needs well into the future

Meanwhile, the Federal Highway Administration has detailed its $2.5-billion Charging and Fueling Infrastructure program funding up to $700 million “available to states, localities, Tribes, territories, and public authorities—to deploy publicly accessible charging and alternative fueling infrastructure” at local schools, grocery stores, parks, libraries, and apartment complexes.

The FHWA requires a minimum of four ports at a charging station to receive funding, whether DC fast charger, AC Level 2, or a combo of the two.

Each DC fast charger installed alongside AC fast chargers must deliver up to 150 kilowatt hours, with each AC port able to provide at least 6 kWh simultaneously across all AC ports, with the option of allowing a customer to accept a lower power level for power-sharing or “smart charge” management options.

Will Washington’s plan to expand the charging network ease concerns about range anxiety and help the EV market develop? Please comment below.