States must enhance the number of Direct Current (DC) fast charging stations in rural regions to encourage EV adoption across the country and connect the existing limited network of DC fast chargers, making rural communities the missing link for a faster EV charging network.
“Range anxiety,” the fear of not having enough electric range to make it to your desired location, is a substantial hindrance to the developing trend in EV demand. EV battery technology has improved quickly, but even the EV’s with the greatest driving range to date are restricted by the availability — or, more precisely, the lack thereof — of charging stations.
Increasing the quantity of available chargers on rural routes will alleviate EV adopters’ “range anxiety” by connecting charge points across the country, a buildout of DC fast chargers across the 97 percent of the country’s landmass that is rural will have an impact on the dynamics of EV ownership and charging availability, with rural rates of EV ownership increasing as more chargers are built in rural areas, and vice versa.
The Biden administration recently outlined how it will go about building a new nationwide network of EV charging stations. The new nationwide EV charging network will be built as part of the $1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The strategy involves the creation of a joint office between the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department Transportation, with the bill earmarking $7.5 billion to build 500,000 new EV charging stations around the U.S.
To fill gaps in the national EV infrastructure and increase EV adoption across the country, EV charging stations must be installed in rural areas. The only way to create a fully integrated EV road plan across the country is to embrace an all-inclusive strategy.
That $7.5 billion set aside in the bill includes $5 billion for states to build out the charging network, and $2.5 billion in local grants to provide support for EV charging in rural and disadvantaged communities. It is the nation’s first public investment in EV charging stations, a vital step toward the administration’s goal of achieving a 50 percent EV market share by 2030.
Establishing a robust and continuous EV infrastructure will require coordinated planning among the federal government, rural electric cooperatives, and EV companies. A successful partnership among all stakeholders will ensure widespread infrastructure placement, including rural towns, and increased EV use.
Installing charging stations in strategic locations to obtain a high awareness of and use rate is important. Hence, it is recommended to install charging infrastructure in public places like hospitals, schools, theatres, community centers, etc., but to serve a growing EV market in rural regions, a stable and strong EV infrastructure is needed.
Rural places often have less robust electrical infrastructure. This potentially limits the number of EVs that may be charged by a single charging station, necessitating the use of smart charging systems, and managed charging programs. Smart charging systems are based on real-time supply and demand for power.
Even with the usage of smart chargers and programming, upgrades may be needed to future-proof the grid and continue to accommodate the expanding number of EVs. These improvements will result in a more robust power supply to meet the needs of rural charging stations and, as a result, increased usage rates, while also improving the quality of life across the state by supplying equitable access to dependable and affordable energy to power their vehicles and lives. It should be noted, the infrastructure bill also includes $65 billion to bolster the national electricity grid. Local governments should collaborate with regional transportation agencies, utilities, and EV charging providers to develop a map of places that will support EV charging, as well as collaborate to leverage federal funds and programming to extend grid capabilities and electrify rural routes.
By implementing EV-friendly infrastructure and policies in rural America, the United States will be able to accelerate the transition to clean transportation while ensuring that those living outside of metropolitan areas are not left behind, as well as connecting new and existing EV charging infrastructure.