Energy & Environment

Harris rolls out plan for electric vehicle charging network

The White House and Vice President Kamala Harris rolled out a plan on Monday for building out an electric vehicle charging network.

A fact sheet the White House released on the plan relies heavily on the bipartisan infrastructure law and existing actions it has taken, but there are some new announcements as well. 

Those include the creation of a Joint Office of Energy and Transportation between the Energy and Transportation departments, which will be tasked with implementing the charging network and other electrification provisions in the law. 

The law provides $7.5 billion to advance the buildout of an electric vehicle charging network. 

“People who live in apartments…might not have a private driveway where they can install a plug,” Harris said during remarks in Brandywine, Md.

“When we install public chargers, in rural, urban and suburban neighborhoods, we make it easier for people to go electric,” she added.

The fact sheet also said that the White House will hold stakeholder meetings on the issue, and that the Energy and Transportation departments will create an electric vehicle advisory committee. 

The Transportation Department will also publish guidance by Feb. 11 for states and cities to strategically deploy electric vehicle charging stations and will publish standards by May 13 to make sure chargers are functional, safe and accessible.

Deploying more electric vehicles doesn’t just mean getting more electric cars on the road. It also involves building out infrastructure like charging stations in order to make sure people who buy these cars have places to fuel them. 

Electric vehicles are a major component of the Biden administration’s climate plan, though they will be even more effective if the administration is successful in its goal of shifting the country’s electric power to clean sources. 

Monday’s announcement comes as the administration has been grappling with high gasoline prices in recent weeks, though they have fallen slightly and are expected to trend lower. 

And it comes as additional incentives for electric vehicles are expected in Democrats’ climate and social spending bill, which has yet to make it across the finish line. It contains tax credits worth up to $12,500 for consumers who purchase electric vehicles.

But, one of those incentives — a $4,500 tax credit for union-made electric vehicles — is facing opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a key swing vote, and its future is uncertain.

Nevertheless, Harris touted the Democrats’ bill during her remarks on Monday, calling the already passed bipartisan package just “part 1.”

“Our bipartisan infrastructure law is part 1 of 2. Part 2 of 2 is the Build Back Better Act.” she said.

“Our Build Back Better Act will cut the sticker price of new electric vehicles made in America by union workers by up to $12,500,” she added, touting the package with the contentious provision included.

–Updated at 12:09 p.m.

Energy & Environment