Department of Transportation approves EV charging plans for all 50 states

Aranga87 via Getty Images

A critical element of the transition to electric vehicles is ensuring that the charging infrastructure is up to scratch. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law earmarked $5 billion in funding over five years to help states install chargers along highways, and that process just took an important step forward. The Department of Transportation has approved EV charging plans for all 50 states, as well as Washington DC and Puerto Rico. The proposals cover 75,000 miles of highways, as Reuters notes.

As a result of the DOT rubberstamping the plans, the Biden administration has unlocked over $1.5 billion in funding for states' EV charger projects. The funds will cover up to 80 percent of EV charger installation costs, with states and private entities covering the remainder. Earlier this month, the DOT said it approved plans from 35 states, but approvals were required for all of them before it could start offering the funding.

It's not clear how many chargers the funding will support, but Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said earlier this year that states will need to meet certain standards. The states should be installing DC Fast Chargers, the DOT said, and stations will need at least four ports. EV chargers should also be available every 50 miles on interstate highways. They should be within a mile of highways too.

Private companies, such as Tesla and GM, are building out their own charging networks. But having public infrastructure at specific intervals on interstate highways is important too.

For what it's worth, the rapid expansion of EV chargers with the help of public funding lies in sharp contrast with broadband deployment under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Last month, it emerged that the Commerce Department had been unable to allocate any portion of the $42.5 billion earmarked by the legislation for bolstering broadband infrastructure and narrowing the digital divide, since it didn't have adequate maps from the Federal Communications Commission by that time.