Buttigieg Admits Struggling With EV Chargers

The Transportation Department announced last week that it is spending $100 million to repair or replace faulty electric vehicle charging stations around the country as the Biden administration seeks to address a major obstacle to the transition away from gas-powered vehicles, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In a press release last week, the Transporation Department said the funding will go to repairing or replacing “non-operational” electric vehicle charging stations that have contributed to the difficulty the country’s EV owners are having in reliably charging their vehicles.

Having a reliable network of charging stations is key to the administration’s effort to transition from gas-powered to electric vehicles. But drivers aren’t likely to spend the money on electric vehicles if they can’t find a place to charge the battery.

Except for Tesla, which has been building a network of charging stations for over a decade, the EV charging industry has struggled with reliability.

A recent study by JD Power found that 20 percent of EV charging attempts outside of Tesla’s network fail. However, among Tesla drivers, the failure rate was only 4 percent, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg admitted to the Wall Street Journal that he, like many EV drivers, has faced problems finding a reliable charging station to charge his hybrid.

Buttigieg told the Journal that the funding, which comes from the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure spending bill, will ensure that electric vehicle owners have the same kind of access to charging stations that conventional vehicle owners have to gas stations.

The Transportation Department will target 6,000 charging stations currently reported as “temporarily unavailable” in the government database tracking public chargers. Temporarily unavailable chargers include those damaged by vandalism, experiencing power issues, or currently in need of routine maintenance.

According to government data, there are about 150,000 public charging stations in the United States. While most of those take hours to charge a vehicle, about 34,000 are classified as fast-chargers which take between 20 minutes to an hour to charge a battery, depending on the equipment and conditions of the battery.