Pete Buttigieg admits he’s had issues using EVs, announces $100 million effort to fix broken chargers

News & Politics

The Department of Transportation announced this week that the Biden administration approved a $100 million effort to repair and replace broken electric vehicle chargers. United States Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg admitted he has run into issues when trying to charge his vehicle, according to an interview Wednesday with the Wall Street Journal.

A press release from the DOT states that $100 million in federal funding will be used to fix “existing but non-operational, electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.”

“Under President Biden’s leadership, America is leading the electric vehicle revolution. This funding represents the latest step toward building a convenient, affordable, reliable charging network that reaches every corner of our nation,” Buttigieg stated.

In an interview with the WSJ, Buttigieg admitted that, like most EV drivers, he has faced challenges locating reliable charging stations for his hybrid minivan.

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“We’ve definitely had that experience. Matter of fact, had it just a few days ago at a park in town,” Buttigieg said, referring to a charger that was not working correctly.

“Imagine what it would be like if you couldn’t be sure when you pulled into a gas station that you’d actually get gas out of it,” he continued. “This is about making sure that access to charging is as reliable as access to fuel is today for gas cars, and we know that that’s not just a question of quantity but also one of quality.”

This month, the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center reported that 4.1% of 151,506 public charging stations were temporarily unavailable.

A recent report from J.D. Power found that 20% of drivers who visited a charging station did not use it for various reasons, including failing chargers.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm praised Biden for investing in the national EV charging infrastructure “with chargers Made in the U.S.A.”

“Today’s investment is a pivotal step toward revitalizing our current charging infrastructure making EV driving cheaper, more reliable, and more convenient,” Granholm said.

The DOT estimated that the funding would fully cover the repair and replacement costs for all existing eligible publicly and privately owned charging stations. In order to be eligible for the federal funding, the charging stations must be available to the public without restrictions.

Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt believes that the charging network investment will boost driver demand for EVs.

The Biden administration plans to invest billions to build a more reliable and accessible EV charging network with 1.2 million public chargers by 2030. The administration’s plan will require up to $55 billion in public and private capital investment, the White House reported. The administration insisted that the investment will “unlock hundreds of billions of dollars of consumer savings from reduced fuel and maintenance costs.”

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