by Jack Davis
As the Biden administration lumbers forward with its plan to build a network of publicly funded charging stations for electric vehicles, Elon Musk reminded the world that the private sector has already been there and done that.
On Saturday, President Joe Biden boasted on Twitter of what the administration was planning.
“We’re building 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the country. The great American road trip will be fully electrified,” he said.
Musk, whose Tesla charging network is already completed, offered a counterpoint to the president.
“Or you can just buy a Tesla,” Musk, the CEO of Tesla, tweeted.
According to a news release from the Department of Transportation, over the 2022 and 2023 federal fiscal years, more than $1.5 billion will be spent to build EV chargers covering about 75,000 miles of roadways in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
The funding, which was included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will use $5 billion over five years, the release said.
And…unlike gas-powered vehicles that can accept gasoline from any service station, not every electric vehicle has the same form of charging port.
As noted by CNN, Tesla already has the largest network of chargers in North America and has recently tried to encourage other makers of electric vehicles to make their vehicles compatible with Musk’s Tesla network.
“We created our own connector, as there was no standard back then & Tesla was only maker of long range electric cars. That said, we’re making our Supercharger network open to all other EVs,” Musk wrote in a July tweet, according to CNBC.
Likewise, efforts are afoot to make it easier for Tesla owners to use other forms of chargers.
So if Tesla is already spending its own money to install chargers – and willing to make them a standard for ALL electric cars – why on Earth are Joe Biden and Democrats spending $6.5 BILLION of our money to needlessly duplicate the effort?
To Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, building a network when one exists does not make good sense.
“The government should not be in the business of building electric car charging stations. Tesla already has a nationwide network of privately financed, owned, and maintained charging stations that allow you to drive a Tesla virtually anywhere in the United States,” he tweeted.
In April, after Musk met with Biden officials to discuss the future of charging stations, the Department of Transportation said in a statement that there was “broad consensus that charging stations and vehicles need to be interoperable and provide a seamless user experience, no matter what car you drive or where you charge your EV,” according to CNBC.
John Eichberger, executive director at the Fuels Institute, said charging stations’ plans run into local roadblocks.
“You’ve got zoning requirements and permitting processes that are not designed for this type of equipment, and so they’re trying to take outdated programs and apply it to this,” Eichberger said, according to SmartCitiesDive.
“If we have leadership from the state government filtering down to the localities, then it’s going to improve the transition to this market. We need to do better about making this more efficient, more cost-effective and getting all the hurdles out of the way.”