Many people think of electric vehicles as something accessible only for the rich, but President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan calls for EV charging stations to be erected in rural and disadvantaged communities across the country.
Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework plans a national network of EV charging stations along highways and in rural and disadvantaged communities. The president has a goal of building 500,000 EV chargers nationwide, according to the White House.
Unless the cost of EVs drops, they remain out of reach for most people in disadvantaged communities. The average cost of an electric vehicle in 2019 was $55,600, according to data from Cox Automotive, Car and Driver reported.
Gordon Johnson is the founder of boutique investment firm GLJ Research, which specializes in the alternative energy and EV sectors. Biden’s proposal is tone-deaf, Johnson tweeted. “When we figure out how Dianne Feinstein, who makes ~$190K/yr, has a $41mn Lake Tahoe estate, among other houses, we’ll begin to understand why Dems feel a $40K-$130K EV car is something “poor people” can afford. This is TONE DEAF policy for the rich.”
EVs have a long way to go before such a policy would be viable, John Garee @Hawkeye tweeted. “For electric cars to be viable, they must have Affordability, Range, Power, and Safety. They currently only have Power, but it is at the expense of Range. 1 out of 4 isn’t going to cut it, no matter how many new regulations Biden throws against legacy autos.”
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In Sacramento, however, city leaders are trying to bring EVs to the average citizen through a program with Volkswagen, that seeks to make EVs accessible to low-income Californians.
In 2016, Volkswagen admitted to lying about excessive emissions from its diesel vehicles. As part of a lawsuit settlement, the auto company agreed to pay $14.7 billion in penalties, $2 billion of which was to be invested by Electrify America, a Volkswagen subsidiary, in building a nationwide network of highway EV chargers. But California, which received $800 million from that pool, required that 35 percent of the funds to be spent on low-income and disadvantaged communities, The New York Times reported.
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The Our Community CarShare program was started in Sacramento, encouraging residents to share EVs to get around town. This initiative is putting 140 all-electric Volkswagen e-Golfs at 70 low-income apartment complexes for car-sharing. The program is run by the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District and may be duplicated in other parts of the state.
California has offered consumer rebates for the last 10 years to make EVs more affordable. The rebates are as much as $7,000 per car.