Biden administration plans to optimize EV charging network aimed at mimicking gas station experience

No matter how much motorists have to spit to fill their gas or diesel tanks, there’s one thing they don’t mind: the difficulty figuring out how to get the job done. Get on, fill up. It’s pretty much the same process no matter the brand.

This is not the case when it comes to charging stations for battery electric vehicles. For one thing, unlike gas stations, they can be hard to find, sometimes forcing drivers to stray from their routes to grab juice. There are no standard connectors – the EV version of a fuel pump, which could mean the connector and your EV do not match. Indeed, Tesla has its own charging network which only works with cars of this brand.

As Brett Smith, technical director of the Automotive Research Center based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, pointed out to “You never knew what this experience would be like. With a gas pump, you have a pretty good idea of ​​how it works. »

But on Thursday, the Biden administration took a step to not only make charging stations more plentiful, but also more reliable and standardized to accommodate any electric vehicle.

The plan is officially titled “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” by the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. It is 82 pages. Here are the highlights:

  • Standardized charging stations that can work with any electric vehicle “regardless of brand”.
  • Minimum number of charging ports
  • Station installation and maintenance standards
  • Grid-connected charging stations for monitoring and management

The stated purpose of the standards is to “provide consumers with reliable expectations for electrical travel across and across the United States and to support a skilled, trained nationwide workforce in installation and maintenance. of EVSE (Electric Vehicle Power Equipment)”.

CAR’s Brett Smith sees these proposed standards as a way to address the many shortcomings of the current charging network, but asks, “How standard are they becoming, how executable are these standards. It starts to set up an expectation for people when they stop.

The BlueGreen Alliance is an organization that believes the environment can be protected while preserving union jobs to build and maintain those protections. He released a statement supporting the proposals saying, “We hope to see states take action beyond what is required of them to ensure that new jobs in the manufacturing, maintenance and installation of electric vehicle charging are jobs with good pay and benefits in safe, fair and diverse work environments.

The proposed standards can be interpreted as an ambitious plan to improve the environment by taking some of the pain, and frankly, the reluctance of some to ditch their internal combustion engine vehicles in favor of one that runs on batteries.

Yes, interest in electric vehicles has increased as gasoline prices reach new highs and automakers produce more of them in attractive packages such as the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck, Cadillac Lyriq SUV and the Mustang Mach E.

But will this proposal to charge the national charging network have a real impact on accelerating the conversion to EVs in the short term? CAR’s Brett Smith warns, “It’s perception versus reality. It will take years for this to work. Reality won’t be fixed for a while.

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