Biden touts EV leadership, approves $900 million for charger spending at Detroit Auto Show

Pras Subramanian

·Senior Reporter

Wed, 14 September 2022 at 8:19 pm

A Mustang stampede and a presidential visit are on offer at this year’s Detroit Auto Show.

The show, also known as the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), usually takes place in January from the Huntington Place convention center next to the usually frozen Detroit River. But due to COVID-19 and other changes, the show was cancelled last year and moved to September.

Though many automakers have been pulling away from traditional auto shows, some of the bigger automakers are still there, including Ford, GM, Toyota, and Stellantis (Dodge, Chrysler etc.). Ford will reveal the latest version of its Mustang sports car at an event later tonight.

Today’s big news was President Joe Biden visiting the show during Wednesday’s press day. Biden toured the show floor and checked out the automakers and their latest EV portfolios offerings. He even hopped in the driver’s seat of Chevy’s new gas-powered Corvette Z06.

U.S. President Joe Biden sits in a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 during a visit to the Detroit Auto Show to highlight electric vehicle manufacturing in America, in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., September 14, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Joe Biden sits in a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 during a visit to the Detroit Auto Show to highlight electric vehicle manufacturing in America, in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., September 14, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

However Biden’s main reason for the visit was to tout his administration’s leadership of the country’s EV transformation.

Key to that transformation is money earmarked for EV charger spending, and Biden announced the approval of the first $900 million to build EV chargers across 53,000 miles of the National Highway System, across 35 states.

“So today I’m pleased to announce we’re approving funding for the first 35 states, including Michigan, to build their own electric charging infrastructure throughout their state, and you all are gonna be part of a network of 500,000 charging stations,” Biden said.

That $900 million is part of the $7.5 billion coming from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to build out that EV charger network of 500,000 stations. The administration also secured $60 billion in incentives for U.S. clean energy and transportation technology manufacturing from the Inflation Reduction Act as well.

U.S. President Joe Biden is shown a Chevrolet Silverado EV by General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra during a visit to the Detroit Auto Show to highlight electric vehicle manufacturing in America, in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., September 14, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Joe Biden is shown a Chevrolet Silverado EV by General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra during a visit to the Detroit Auto Show to highlight electric vehicle manufacturing in America, in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., September 14, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The $7.5 billion EV charging package is broken down into two big chunks: $5 billion for the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program for states to build out charging infrastructure along highway corridors, and $2.5 billion for local grants to support community and corridor charging, improve local air quality, and increase EV charging access for rural and underserved communities.

Whether that is enough spending to build out this national EV charging network is another story. The Biden plan calls for building out 500,000 new chargers across the country by 2030, but it is likely that the country will need millions of new chargers by then.

“[Globally you’re looking at needing between 120 [million] to 150 million chargers by 2030. Really this is the beginning of the process in this industry,” Blink Charging CEO Michael Farkas told Yahoo Finance in an interview earlier this summer.

Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

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