Powering Strong Communities

Biden Plan Supports Nationwide EV Charging, Creates New Joint DOE-DOT Office

President Joe Biden recently released a plan that lays out how his administration intends to support the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) under the recently passed $1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Under the EV Charging Action plan, the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) will establish a Joint Office of Energy and Transportation to support the deployment of $7.5 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to build out a national electric vehicle charging network. The new office will provide technical assistant to states and help in developing plans for charging station networks.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $5 billion in state funding, including a 10 percent annual set-aside to provide grants to states to help fill gaps in the charging network, and $2.5 billion for a competitive grant to help ensure that charger deployments meet administration priorities such as supporting rural charging, improving local air quality, and increasing electric vehicle charging access in disadvantaged communities.

In an August executive order, Biden set a target of having 50 percent of all new vehicles sold in 2030 be zero-emissions vehicles, which includes battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and fuel cell electric vehicles.

Biden’s EV Charging Action plan also calls for a series of initial stakeholder meetings on topics including partnerships with state and local government, domestic manufacturing, equity and environmental justice, and maximizing environmental benefits.

Earlier this month, the DOT’s Federal Highway Administration issued a request for information (RFI) for two new programs aimed at supporting the spread of electric vehicles.

DOT and DOE will also launch a new Advisory Committee on Electric Vehicles and is targeting to appoint members to this committee by the end of the first quarter of 2022.

The American Public Power Association plans to respond to the RFI.

The Biden administration has also charged the DOT to publish, no later than Feb. 11, guidance for states and cities to strategically deploy electric vehicle charging stations to build out a national network along the nation’s highway system. And by May 13, the DOT is charged with publishing standards for electric vehicle chargers in the national network.

The administration’s plan also seeks to maximize the use of American manufacturing and jobs in the charging station build-out. In November, the DOT and DOE released a request for information from domestic manufacturers to identify EV chargers and other charging related components that meet Buy America requirements.

The DOT also announced an upcoming solicitation for the sixth round of Alternative Fuel Corridors designations.

EV Battery And Materials Funding

Another component of the administration’s EV Charging Action plan is to increase domestic manufacturing of electric vehicle batteries and components and advance environmentally responsible domestic sourcing and recycling of critical minerals.

In support of that effort, the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries released the National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries that aims to develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain.

Also, the DOE’s Loan Programs Office published new guidance and a fact sheet for the approximately $17 billion in loan authority in the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVM) to support the domestic battery supply chain.

And the DOE’s Federal Energy Management Program has launched an effort to support deployment of energy storage projects by federal agencies, including a federal government-wide energy storage review to evaluate the opportunities for deploying battery storage at federal sites and a call for projects from federal sites interested in deploying energy storage projects.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also includes more than $7 billion in funding to accelerate innovations and facilities across the battery supply chain from battery materials refining, processing and manufacturing to battery manufacturing.

Funding for those efforts includes $3 billion in competitive grants for battery minerals and refined materials and another $3 billion for competitive grants aimed at building, retooling, or expanding manufacturing of batteries and battery components, such as cathodes, anodes, and electrolytes, and to establish recycling facilities in the United States.

Funding also earmarks $60 million for research, development, and demonstration recycling projects, including $15 million for programs with retailers. Another $50 million is earmarked for state and local governments to increase the collection of spent batteries for reuse, recycling or proper disposal, and $200 million has been identified for electric vehicle battery recycling and second-life applications programs.

And an additional $750 million in funding is being put toward the Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Grant Program that aims to re-equip, expand or establish an industrial or manufacturing facility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of that facility substantially below current best practices.