“$2.5B Funding Program for EV Chargers in Urban and Rural Communities Launched by U.S.”

The Biden administration has launched a funding programme worth $2.5bn to promote the development of alternative fueling infrastructure and provide electric vehicle (EV) charging in urban and rural communities in the US. The grant programme is part of the bipartisan infrastructure law signed earlier in 2021 and is expected to initiate the deployment of publicly accessible EV chargers as well as hydrogen, propane or natural gas fueling infrastructure along highways, interstates and major roadways, in downtown areas and neighbourhoods, including underserved and disadvantaged communities. The funding program is divided into two categories, which includes a $1.25bn community program for EV charging and alternative fueling infrastructure solutions and a $1.25bn corridor programme for projects along designated alternative fuel corridors. The Senior administration official mentioned that the grant program’s profits would be directed at achieving at least 40% of benefits to disadvantaged communities, particularly those that are rural and tribal, and for that purpose, the Federal Highway Administration will fund “projects that address environmental justice, particularly for communities such as rural and low- and moderate-income neighbourhoods that may disproportionately experience the consequences of climate change and other pollutants.”

The US administration is aiming to fill the gap in EV charging infrastructure in the nation by constructing a national network of 500,000 public EV charging stations through these funds. Currently, there are nearly 133,000 public charging outlets in the US that Energy Department data has reported until Tuesday. As part of this effort, the administration is planning to provide $5bn over the next five years to states to fund these initiatives. The funding for EV chargers will have to adhere to minimum standards established last month, which mandates the construction of federally-funded charging stations with at least four 150-kilowatt direct current fast charging ports that are capable of simultaneously charging four EVs. The chargers will also be required to remain in working condition 97% of the time, according to the established directives. The new standards also require real-time updates on station locations, availability and pricing to be publicly accessible through mapping applications to promote convenience for the public.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm stated that ensuring EV charging stations are more visible and accessible in communities will address the concerns that many American drivers have when considering making the switch to EVs, and it is this programme that the administration is aiming to promote in communities of every kind. These efforts will extend our electric vehicle infrastructure into traditionally underserved areas to ensure that equitable and widespread EV adoption takes hold. The programme addresses environmental justice in communities disproportionately affected by climate change and other pollutants, primarily rural and low and moderate-income areas. This effort and the government’s Justice40 Initiative would reinforce cooperation between states, cities, local agencies and tribes since the funding is made available to eligible applicants across the country. Applications for the programme’s round one grant money are due on May 30.

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