Range anxiety? There’s a new $2.5B plan for EV chargers in neighborhoods

The Biden Administration is investigating more infrastructure to build more charging stations across the US, including here in Arizona.
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 1:03 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - If you pull into the parking lot at Milkweed Arts in Phoenix, you can’t miss the EV chargers.

“We decided to put them in because right in this area, there weren’t a lot of nearby charging options,” said Warren Norgaard, the shop owner. “We wanted to make options available for people in the area who live in apartments or condos where installing chargers just wasn’t going to be an option for them.” Norgaard didn’t become an EV owner himself until a few days ago. “I was definitely concerned about am I going to be able to get enough range,” he said. “Am I going to be able to charge my vehicle when I need to? Am I going to be able to take trips out of town?”

Range anxiety is a common concern, but as technology improves, Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt expects range concerns to diminish with an expanded network of public chargers to help. On Tuesday, the federal government opened applications for the new Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program. The new round of funding, totaling $2.5 billion over five years, will pay for EV charging and alternative-fueling infrastructure.

“Think about smaller cities, towns, rural places, tribal areas, where if you have a grocery store or a church or a school, we’re going to make sure that those places have access to charging networks as well,” Bhatt said. “We want that network built out as quickly as possible.”

By 2030, the Biden administration wants to have a network of 500,000 public EV chargers. Previously, $5 billion in federal funding was allocated to the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program for chargers along interstates. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, the state expects to receive $76.5 million over five years through the program. “We want to make sure as we’re building these electric vehicles here in the US, that we have a charging infrastructure that is being developed concurrently so that people feel like they have the same amount of freedom with electric vehicles as they do with an internal combustion engine,” Bhatt said.

Norgaard said he’s starting to feel that freedom, but still looks forward to seeing a bigger network of chargers. “We’re getting much closer,” he said.