SAN DIEGO — One of the most significant parts of President Joe Biden's new infrastructure bill, especially for California, is its $7.5 billion in funding for new electric vehicle charging stations.
The Golden State not only has the nation's largest market for electric vehicles but also has a zero-emissions goal to reach by 2035.
California accounts for roughly half of all electric vehicles, or EVs, sold in the United States, making this federal funding for charging stations even more meaningful here at home.
"It was a historic day for the industry: no shortage of celebration here!" said Cory Bullis, senior public affairs specialist with Flo, one of North America's leading electric vehicle charging networks, as well as a board member of the EV Charging Association.
He said this unprecedented investment in building new electric vehicle charging stations - $7.5 billion over the next five years - will go a long way toward helping California achieve its goal, requiring all new cars and passenger trucks sold in the state to be zero-emission by 2035
"The bottom line is that when it comes to EV adoption in the state, the limiting factor to some extent right now is infrastructure," Bullis told News 8. "Drivers want confidence that there is enough infrastructure available to meet their needs."
Out of this federal funding, California is expected to receive $384 million to expand EV charging stations.
The state can also compete for $2.5 billion in additional grant money to expand its charging network even further.
At this point, it is unclear exactly how much of this funding the San Diego region might see.
Bullis said this investment is especially critical for California to meet its own statewide goals.
"By 2035, we are supposed to have over a million public chargers, so this is going to be pretty meaningful in terms of accelerating toward that goal," he added.
"It is definitely a step in the right direction," said Dr. Michael Davidson, a professor in engineering and public policy at the University of California at San Diego.
He pointed out that, along with California's zero-emissions vehicle goal by 2035, the state also has a 2045 goal of 100% clean energy.
"So that means in 2035 if we are only selling cars off the lot and they're still charging off dirty fossil plants, they're not emissions-free," Davidson said.
This underlines the need to pursue more renewable energy sources more aggressively, "so that in this way every vehicle that comes off the lot is charging emission-free from farm to wheel," he added.
Davidson pointed out that this new infrastructure bill also provides tax credits for e-bikes, something he's hopeful Californians will take advantage of as they work toward that zero-emissions goal
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