In a nutshell: The multibillion-dollar infrastructure bill passed in 2021 is seeing some changes to how its funds are allocated. The emphasis is to incentives car companies, including Tesla, to standardize power stations to be maker-agnostic and to produce and assemble charing components in America. If things go as the White House plans, we may start to see more electric vehicle chargers popping up along our highways.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021 (BIL) earmarked $350 billion for funding highway improvement projects through 2026. Of those funds, $7.5 billion is allocated to increasing the number of EV chargers across the US, with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) deciding who gets grant money.
The White House released new stipulations for receiving funds to build electric vehicle charging stations. One is to limit allocation to non-proprietary chargers. The move is clearly intended to incentivize the standardization of the technology and get Tesla to refit some of its chargers to accommodate cars from other manufacturers.
On Tuesday, White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu said that he anticipates Tesla's cooperation in making its chargers available to all EVs. In response, Tesla Charging announced via Twitter that it would soon open "select" Superchargers to all EVs.
Our US network will more than double by the end of 2024 to support our growing Tesla fleet and new EV customers— Tesla Charging (@TeslaCharging) February 15, 2023
Expanding its facilities has been in the works since at least 2021 when the company said it was retrofitting an undisclosed number of stations in the US. Today the White House noted that Tesla has already committed to opening at least 7,500 Superchargers to non-Tesla vehicles.
Landrieu points out that as EVs become more widely adopted, having a standard that all cars can use makes more sense than disparate stations using various proprietary connectors.
"[We need chargers that] will work for everyone, everywhere, no matter what type of car or state they're [traveling] in," Landrieu said.
Indeed, imagine the chaos if gasoline stations didn't have standardized nozzles. Making a single charging solution for all makes of EV is the only thing that makes sense. However, that was not the only limitation the White House imposed on the provisioning requirements.
The Biden administration also wants to push to ensure chargers are assembled domestically. It also offers monetary incentives to parts manufacturers to build facilities in the US to make charger components.
White House officials hope to have over 100,000 chargers installed across the US by 2026 and 500,000 by 2030. However, since the BIL allocations expire in 2026, it would require a new funding bill to help companies continue building EV charging stations. The government's ultimate goal is to have half of the new cars sold in 2030 be EVs and have net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Image credit: eVgo Network