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Texas joins the electric vehicle fee club on Sept. 1, 2023

2 federal projects announced to improve EV charging options

EV charging stations_ChargeX Consortium image
It's going to take more charging stations, and in more rural areas, to get more U.S. drivers to even consider buying an electric vehicle. (Photo courtesy ChargeX Consortium)

I live in Austin, Texas, where traffic congestion increases daily (only partially kidding).

But I grew up in West Texas, where driving an hour or longer one way to get from one small town to another was and still is not unusual. Often without any kind of way station along the long, flat roads.

It's those distances that give me and those who still live in more rural areas pause when it comes to buying an electric vehicle. You can always put a spare gallon of gasoline in your trunk, but if your EV battery dies….

Supporters of moving U.S. drivers from fossil-fueled vehicles to electric ones are aware of the charging challenge. That includes the White House, which today announced a couple of EV moves focusing on charging options that will encourage more of us to take the alternative auto power route.

EV ride and drive money: The Ride and Drive Electric funding opportunity, whose $51 million comes from the Biden Administration's infrastructure law, focuses in large part on EV charging.

Funding will go to projects that, among other things —

  • validate and test charging equipment;
  • advance new business models for electrified shared mobility and fleet-based services; and
  • increase opportunities for underserved communities through new jobs and training resources.

The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation will administer the Ride and Drive Electric program. You can read the full funding opportunity announcement and apply at the Department of Energy's (DoE) office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) website.

Applicants seeking some of the federal Ride a Drive Electric money must outline the benefits that will be delivered to disadvantaged communities.

The deadline for submission of concept papers is June 16. Only applicants who have submitted an eligible concept paper will be eligible to submit a full application. The submission deadline for full applications is July 28.

EV charger consortium: In addition, EERE also today announced the launch of the National Charging Experience Consortium. The ChargeX Consortium as it's been dubbed will be led by the DoE's Idaho National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The consortium's goal is to "advance rapid, on-the-ground solutions that ensure a convenient, reliable, equitable, and easy-to-use charging experience for all Americans with chargers that are made in America." That's government speak for making sure there are enough charging stations to make nationwide EV usage feasible.

The group already has commitments from nearly 30 companies and organizations. They include automakers, energy companies, EV advocacy groups, and climate organizations.

For more information or to request to join the ChargeX Consortium, visit the group's website.

"The EV revolution is well underway, and this funding will help to ensure that every American can access the benefits and count on a reliable EV charging network across the country," said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in announcing the projects.

"Rapidly modernizing and electrifying key parts of our transportation sector is how we’ll meet consumer needs and achieve widespread electrification," added Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.

Speediest EV: Check out my tumblr blog Tumbling Taxes' May 21, 2023, post on the fastest electric vehicle on the road (for now). The Rimac Nevara, an all-electric two-seater sports car designed and manufactured by the Croatian automotive manufacturer Rimac Automobili, recently smashed 23 Performance World Records. But most of us will never be able to drive the hypercar, which has limited production runs and costs north of 2 million euros.

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