What’s it cost and how far does it go? People presented with an electric vehicle immediately pose those two questions. In essence, those are the hurdles that EVs need to clear before mass adoption can occur. Without good infrastructure, range anxiety deters many potential customers from buying expensive, battery-powered vehicles, even turning away those that want to switch for environmentally friendly reasons.
Fortunately, President Biden provided a much-needed boost for the EV industry when he announced his $2 trillion spending plan on the evening of March 31, 2021. Along with other infrastructure initiatives like eliminating lead water pipes, Biden’s plan would dedicate $174 billion to EV incentive programs and charging stations.
Of course, the President’s efforts focus on the adoption of battery-powered cars, but tax credits and infrastructure upgrades would also benefit electric motorcycle and scooter riders. For instance, all Zero Motorcycles customers are currently eligible for a 10% federal tax credit up to a maximum of $2,500. For automobiles, those tax breaks go all the way up to $7,500.
However, under current the incentive program, tax credits phase out once the manufacturer sells 200,000 electric vehicles. That leaves GM and Tesla customers out in the cold. Though the details aren’t available at this time, many suspect that Biden’s plan would increase tax credits and delay phase-out periods to stimulate sector growth. Yes, fortifying the incentives program will go a long way toward getting people into battery-powered vehicles, but we also have to keep them on the road.
To achieve that feat, the President proposed installing 500,000 new charging stations nationwide by 2030. That’s an ambitious goal considering that the U.S. only contains 41,400 dedicated EV charging stations at the moment. While a boost in the number of charging stations would certainly move the needed, the type of charging stations will be even more important.
Of the 41,400 active charging stations in the nation, just over 10 percent are DC fast chargers. These direct current (DC) stations can charge a car to 80 percent in just 20-30 minutes. On the other hand, nearly 90 percent of the charging stations in the U.S. use alternating current (AC), leaving the EV to convert the energy to DC itself. This process results in the hours-long wait times to fully recharge an electric vehicle. If more DC fast chargers go in, that could proportionately boost sales of battery-powered cars, motorcycles, and scooters.
Though the prospects are exciting, Biden's spending bill still has to pass in Congress. With 219 Democratic representatives and 211 Republican representatives in the 117th Congress, passage is anything but secure.