By on September 2, 2021

This week, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation (the largest automotive lobby in existence) released a set of principles relating to the EV charging infrastructure that it believes will be absolutely necessary to spur consumer adoption of electric and alternative energy vehicles in the United States.

“For the auto industry’s transition to electrification to be successful, customers will need access to affordable and convenient charging and hydrogen fueling, easy-to-understand utility rate structures that reward off-peak charging, and improved charging times,” John Bozzella, CEO of the alliance, said on Wednesday. “And we must also work together to grow EV sales without leaving low-income, rural or disadvantaged communities behind.”

That’s corporate-speak for “we need to stop catering to wealthy buyers and the government needs to pay for as much of this as possible.”

Unless you’ve been in a coma since the Bush administration, you’re likely aware that people are paying to support electric vehicles via taxes and the bill just keeps getting bigger. Joe Biden has made EV advancement one of its primary goals, as the U.S. House of Representatives is prepared to move on the $1 trillion infrastructure bill that’s already been passed by the Senate. While the current version doesn’t set aside quite as much money for charging stations as originally envisioned, it’s still ready to dole out $7 billion for the cause. This is on top of multi-billion dollar investments from automakers, prior infrastructure bills, state-backed initiatives, and a decade of subsided EV sales.

While the discourse tends to focus on how alternative energy vehicles are going to be the saviors of this planet, manufacturers frequently gloss over some of the less-than-ideal environmental aspects of battery production. They also never bring up how swapping their production lines over to electric cars will require a fraction of their existing workforces, fewer mechanical components, and allow them to more easily utilize connectivity services that lock product features behind digital paywalls while mining consumer data. If automakers (or the lobbying groups) were as concerned about the environment as they claim, they’d probably shut down operations and recommended everyone ride bicycles. But the reality is that they see electrification as a potential goldmine in savings that simultaneously paves the way for new sources of revenue.

That said, if we’re seriously going to try and engineer the electric revolution — rather than letting the market gradually decide what works — then the AAI is correct in stating that we’ll need to pour cash on the problem.

The alliance wants general support for a widespread EV charging infrastructure. This includes scaling up public and utility investments for chargers (level 2) and hydrogen fueling stations while finding a way to ensure energy prices don’t explode through the roof or electrical grids fail as millions of EVs are plugged in every single evening. The AAI is also pushing for new building codes that would require EV chargers in all residential parking areas and any newly constructed homes.

How can this daunting task be accomplished? According to the alliance, only via strengthened partnerships between public and private entities. The group has said the automotive industry will have invested more than $330 billion by 2025 and the path ahead will require more money from serious partners and “expanded roles for utilities, energy regulators, and other stakeholders to create opportunities for new and existing businesses to participate in this clean transformation.”

Frankly, it sounds like there will be too much central planning — leaving your author concerned about the potential for corruption and roadblocks as decision-makers make unilateral decisions that don’t work for all markets. There’s also a lot here that’s not being considered, particularly the chip shortage that it’s absolutely demolishing industrial productivity right now and the heightening demand for hard-to-source materials required for battery production. Though, if we’re to keep to the tight EV timelines that everyone seems to want, there may be no alternative but to adhere to most of what the AAI is proposing.

[Image: Imagenet/Shutterstock]

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35 Comments on “Auto Alliance Outlines EV Charging Infrastructure Plan, Asks for Help...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Good, I have the money right… oh damn that’s right we left those EV earmarked pallets of cash in Kabul for the terrorists. Bonds it is!

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    “we need to stop catering to wealthy buyers and the government needs to pay for as much of this as possible.”

    you mean “the people who earn money and pay taxes need to pay for it”

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “The AAI is also pushing for new building codes that would require EV chargers in all residential parking areas and any newly constructed homes.”

    Building codes exist at an extremely local level so this would be quite difficult to accomplish.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Making new construction more expensive for no reason sounds like just the ticket to help solve the housing crisis.

      • 0 avatar
        jpolicke

        Every politician and bureaucrat currently has a home. There is no crisis.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        ‘Housing crisis’? Check out housing prices in Canada. Doubled in many areas over the past few years.

        The average price for a detached home in the city of Toronto is now 1,750,518. That is up 20% in the past 12 months.

        In my region the average price has increased by just over 34% in the past year.

        But wages are increasing by only around 2.8%.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      Lots of municipalities have already done it, or at least require room on the panel or conduit in place.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        How many is “lots”? And what are they actually passing? “Room on the panel” is pretty vague.

        • 0 avatar
          spookiness

          My city and most surrounding jurisdictions are requiring some degree of EV accomodation. Either wiring or room in single family dwellings, or a certain % of spaces in commercial and multifamily, and/or put in conduit. Where I live it’s not in building code, but a condition of zoning approval for projects over a certain size.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      Another example of a luxury idea. People can virtue signal without economic consequence to themselves. All the right people already own homes and will be unaffected.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      If it’s in the Uniform Building Code, it’s all North America. But it’s the same problem with adding all electrical appliances to a home not planned for them, like a range, water heater, etc..

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The Uniform Building Code is not a binding national law. Every state has its own standards. Then within those states nearly every county and city has their own standards. And then within those counties and cities different property zones can have their own standards.

        • 0 avatar
          jpolicke

          The public didn’t clamor for 55 MPH speed limits; Nixon strongarmed the states by holding highway money hostage. You think the current bunch wouldn’t do the same thing with HUD money?

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            The 55MPH speed limit was a law passed by Congress and I don’t think the current or near future legislature is passing national building codes.

            A lot of places also either didn’t enforce the 55mph limit or made breaking it inconsequential.

            nytimes.com/1981/04/16/us/around-the-
            nation-nevada-speeders-getting-5-energy-
            wasting-fines.html

        • 0 avatar

          Right but most start with UBC and then modify it. So essentially changes filter down thru to local codes over the next 10-15 years on average. I know only a few local authorities that adopt very quickly to UBC, I want to say Colorado is one, but I don’t recall the others.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “and then modify it”

            You can see where this could be a problem then?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Build Codes are for the benefit and protection of the public, not developers. Same with local variances, earthquake, flood, tornado, fire zones, etc.
            The general public doesn’t know to specify a 36″ wide front door min, but they would find out trying to get a fridge through anything less.
            The cost to upgrade a place for EV charging (or 36″ door) “after the fact” is substantially more than during the build.

  • avatar
    BrandX

    “…allow them to more easily utilize connectivity services that lock product features behind digital paywalls while mining consumer data.”

    That’s got nothing to do with the car’s powertrain, but you keep tying it to electric cars only. Why?

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    The three-page summary is interesting, but you really want to read the “Auto Industry EV Policy Letter to President Biden” (I’ll post it below since the link is 8 miles long).

    If your mental image is of Joe Biden sitting at the Resolute desk and mulling over each of the bullet points in that letter, you really should upgrade your view of government beyond a 5th-Grade-Civics level.

    Bonus Factoid (from the last page of the letter): “The United Autoworkers International Union represents over 400,000 active members and 575,000 retirees.” More retired than active. Who knew? [The 400,000 figure includes casino dealers.]
    https://uaw.org/gaming/

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Auto Industry EV Policy Letter to President Biden:

      https://www.autosinnovate.org/posts/communications/Auto%20Industry%20EV%20Policy%20Letter%20to%20President%20Biden%20March%2029%202021.pdf

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      If you like arithmetic, check out this page and add up the following three figures:

      • GM 48,500
      • Ford 41,000
      • Chrysler 26,000

      https://uaw.org/departments/national-collective-bargaining-departments/

      I get 115,500. (Some people might say 115,500 is Pretty Close to 400,000 – but I wouldn’t trust those people to manage my finances.)

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Also from the letter:
      “The Alliance for Automotive Innovation (Auto Innovators) is the singular, authoritative and respected voice of the automotive industry, representing nearly 99 percent of cars and light-duty trucks sold in the United States.”

      ‘Nearly 99 percent’? Elon Musk, you selfish jerk. Can’t you be a team player? (We’re all innovating over here.) :-)

      [“Tesla is not a part of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation or Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association.” – cnbc.com]

      https://www.autosinnovate.org/about/our-members

  • avatar
    Dartdude

    It now time for Americans to grow up. You want something you work for it. Your wants ARE NOT for your neighbor to pay for. Govt has NO money It steals money from productive people to get it. You want free stuff then go door to door and ask your neighbors for money. If they are going to finance the EV boom, then they may as well make gas free to make it fair.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @Dartdude: Please take some courses in history, sociology and economics. Please. Employers prefer unemployment numbers at 7% or higher. That creates competition for labour and keeps labour costs lower. Some people are unable to work for medical reasons. You want them going door to door begging.

      Then there are the working poor. People who have to work 2 or 3 or sometimes more precarious jobs to put a roof over their heads and food on their tables. They have no time or energy to retrain or go back to school and therefore are locked in a cycle of despair. You want them to go begging as well?

      What of those who were laid off/lost their jobs near the end of their working lives. What options do they have?

      The USA was built on government interventions from land grants, to the GI Bill.

      Those nations with strong social safety nets have surpassed the USA in just about every category regarding the health, happiness and social mobility of their population.

      • 0 avatar
        Dartdude

        USA was built on self reliance. Churches built schools and hospitals. People helped in time of need, but you were responsible for yourself and your family. We were a nation of hard workers and self reliant. The part you missed is that the govt robs Peter to pay Paul. You want an EV pay for it with your money.

        • 0 avatar
          Snooder

          None of this is true. At all.

          But clearly, you were one of the folks who went to said “church built school” so I guess we can forgive your complete and utter ignorance of basic history, economics and government.

          For the record and just to remedy the failures of your middle school history teachers, the United States was specifically founded when we found out that “self-reliance” in the form of the Articles of Confederation did not work. The literal purpose of the United States from its foundation is to collect money to fix problems that are national in scale.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          @Dartdude: your understanding of history is very limited. The implementation of universal free schooling via government legislation was a major step in creating modern society.
          ‘Massachusetts passed the first compulsory school laws in 1852. New York followed the next year, and by 1918, all American children were required to attend at least elementary school.’

          The GI Bill provided American servicemen from all classes/areas/walks of life to attend university. This helped create the middle class that represented American prosperity circa 1946 to the end of the 20th century.

          Various Homestead Acts enticed immigrants into the American west. Under the protection of the US Army.

          You seem to advocate for some Dickensian society, which thankfully was only in vogue in North America for a limited period.

  • avatar
    JD-Shifty

    dartdude is the perfect example of the low education citizen the GOP wants.

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