United States Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, an ardent proponent of electric vehicles (EVs), admitted he has trouble finding reliable electric vehicle charging stations while he is traveling on the road.
Buttigieg complained to the Wall Street Journal about public EV charging stations as President Joe Biden’s administration launched an effort to revamp the more than 6,000 charging stations that are “temporarily unavailable.”
“We’ve definitely had that experience,” Buttigieg said about pulling into EV charging stations, only to realize they are out of service. “Matter of fact, had it just a few days ago at a park in town.”
“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 added. “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.”
Biden’s administration on Wednesday announced $100 million in federal funds to repair “existing but non-operational, electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.”
“Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are building up a national EV charging network with chargers Made in the U.S.A.,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement. “Today’s investment is a pivotal step toward revitalizing our current charging infrastructure making EV driving cheaper, more reliable, and more convenient.”
Of the roughly 150,000 public charging ports available to EV drivers, more than 6,000 fall under the “temporarily unavailable” category. Charging ports fall under this category for things like routine maintenance, power issues, or damage from vandalism, according to WSJ.
EV drivers reportedly face “range anxiety,” which refers to the fear of getting stranded on the road, Wall Street Journal detailed.
The $100 million in funding comes from Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill Congress passed in 2021.
Currently, Tesla charging stations are the most reliable, as they had just a four percent failure rate, according to an August study from J.D. Power. On the other hand, chargers outside of the Tesla network had a 20 percent failure rate.
“ Overall, driver sentiment about charging has been on the decline since 2021, and charger build-out isn’t keeping pace with the rapid arrival of more EVs, said Brent Gruber, J.D. Power’s executive director, EV practice,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
“You’re taking an area that’s already deficient in terms of availability and you’re widening that gap,” Gruber told the outlet.