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US Infrastructure Bill's EV Charger Funding

15 November 2021 Colin Bird-Martinez Graham Evans Mark Boyadjis

Infrastructure Bill's EV Charger Funding a Good Start, but More Funding Likely to be Needed to Meet Growing Demand

IHS Markit expects US infrastructure bill to supplement only 66 percent of required US EV charger growth through 2026

Today President Joe Biden signed into law the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. The bill is expected to support the automotive industry in many ways, from improved road conditions, cleaner commercial vehicles, electric vehicle battery factories, battery recycling, and lithium mining and refining. However, one of the largest EV appropriations will be toward vehicle charging. Some $7.5 billion has been allocated to alternative fuel charging, primarily for electric vehicle chargers and supporting infrastructure across the country.

IHS Markit estimates that the US federal investment will directly contribute to the construction, maintenance, and operation of approximately 400,000 newly installed Level 2 AC and Level 3 DC Fast chargers in the US between 2022 and 2026. Under the details outlined in the bill, chargers must be open-sourced, meaning funding cannot go to Tesla's proprietary Supercharger network, unless it opens it up to non-Tesla vehicles.

However, IHS Markit believes this investment is unlikely to meet the growing demand of the US plug-in EV fleet. Along with the nation's current electric vehicle charging infrastructure of 100,000+ chargers at 50,000 publicly available locations, IHS Markit estimates there will need to be about 600,000 additional chargers installed at another 100,000 public locations by 2026.

The figure does not include the 3.2 million domestic, private Level 2 chargers expected to be installed in residential homes - mostly in garages - over the investment period.

This bill represents the first large-scale national investment in EV charging infrastructure. "The Biden administration's investment isn't hyperbole and will have a significant impact on US electric vehicle charging supply," said Mark Boyadjis, IHS Markit global automotive technology lead. "However, even an investment at this scale will come up short against the rapid growth of electric cars hitting the road soon, pointing to a need for additional support from municipal, utility, and private investments to fill the gap."

IHS Markit expects that the EV Vehicles in Operation (VIO) on the road in the United States will increase from 1.5 million in 2020 to about 9.3 million units in 2026. IHS Markit estimates that the nation needs approximately 700,000 cumulative chargers by 2026 to meet that demand, and the 400,000 that the US bill will support is not enough to get us there entirely. During the 5-year investment period, Federal subsidies are only expected to fulfill two-thirds of what is required to energize the future EV fleet in the US.

Additionally, IHS Markit forecasts EV battery capacity to steadily increase over the coming years. "This will allow the average EV to travel further on a single charge, in principle lessening the need for such abundant infrastructure, said Graham Evans, director, automotive supply chain & technology, IHS Markit. "However, from a consumer perception perspective, abundant EV charging is needed to encourage skeptical consumers that a BEV is workable for them."

75 percent of US EV owners prefer to charge at home, but a successful transition to a national electric vehicle fleet requires a way for those without that capability to charge in a convenient manner at public facilities. Overall, only 63 percent of US households have access to a garage and that figure is less in urban areas where more than 50 percent of EV sales occur. "If EVs remain impractical for apartment, condo, and historic home dwellers, we cannot adequately reach the administration's stated EV goals," said Colin Bird-Martinez, automotive consulting principal analyst, IHS Markit.

The bill sets aside $5 billion to be granted to states to deploy EV charging stations in US; and $2.5 billion in grants to public entities to deploy publicly-available EV charging, hydrogen fueling, propane fueling, and natural gas fueling infrastructure through 2022-26.

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