Auto Alliance Outlines EV Charging Infrastructure Plan, Asks for Help

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

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]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Dartdude Dartdude on Sep 03, 2021

    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.

    • See 3 previous
    • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Sep 05, 2021

      @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.

  • JD-Shifty JD-Shifty on Sep 05, 2021

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

  • Teddyc73 As I asked earlier under another article, when did "segment" or "class" become "space"? Does using that term make one feel more sophisticated? If GM's products in other segments...I mean "space" is more profitable then sedans then why shouldn't they discontinue it.
  • Robert Absolutely!!! I hate SUV's , I like the better gas milage and better ride and better handling!! Can't take a SUV 55mph into a highway exit ramp! I can in my Malibu and there's more than enough room for 5 and trunk is plenty big enough for me!
  • Teddyc73 Since when did automakers or car companies become "OEM". Probably about the same time "segment" or "class" became "space". I wish there were more sedans. I would like an American sedan. However, as others have stated, if they don't sell in large enough quantities to be profitable the automakers...I mean, "OEMs" aren't going to build them. It's simple business.
  • Varezhka I have still yet to see a Malibu on the road that didn't have a rental sticker. So yeah, GM probably lost money on every one they sold but kept it to boost their CAFE numbers.I'm personally happy that I no longer have to dread being "upgraded" to a Maxima or a Malibu anymore. And thankfully Altima is also on its way out.
  • Tassos Under incompetent, affirmative action hire Mary Barra, GM has been shooting itself in the foot on a daily basis.Whether the Malibu cancellation has been one of these shootings is NOT obvious at all.GM should be run as a PROFITABLE BUSINESS and NOT as an outfit that satisfies everybody and his mother in law's pet preferences.IF the Malibu was UNPROFITABLE, it SHOULD be canceled.More generally, if its SEGMENT is Unprofitable, and HALF the makers cancel their midsize sedans, not only will it lead to the SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST ones, but the survivors will obviously be more profitable if the LOSERS were kept being produced and the SMALL PIE of midsize sedans would yield slim pickings for every participant.SO NO, I APPROVE of the demise of the unprofitable Malibu, and hope Nissan does the same to the Altima, Hyundai with the SOnata, Mazda with the Mazda 6, and as many others as it takes to make the REMAINING players, like the Excellent, sporty Accord and the Bulletproof Reliable, cheap to maintain CAMRY, more profitable and affordable.