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How EV legislation is driving clean energy infrastructure

U.S. and Canadian policy makers are realizing that electric vehicles have significant economic benefits
Close-up photo of a person in a yellow sweater & jeans plugging in to charge their EV.

Consumer demand for electric vehicles (EVs) is rising, but the industry needs more and wider-reaching legislation to supercharge growth. 

Much like how the Interstate Highway System overhauled the business and culture of automotive transportation in the U.S. across the 20th century, ambitious legislation for EVs could pave the way for the next generation of transit. Thankfully, lawmakers are already on the way to creating these kinds of EV legislation opportunities—including right here in North America.

America is rolling out comprehensive EV legislation

One of President Biden’s most ambitious goals in office is for the majority of American car sales to be for electric or hybrid vehicles by 2032. The biggest obstacle to this goal isn’t manufacturing but infrastructure: Some of the country still lacks EV charging capabilities that help consumers feel confident about buying something other than gas.

As such, Biden has invested in EV infrastructure throughout his term, arguing it would provide environmental benefits and drive economic growth. The Biden administration is committing billions of dollars in EV grants to replace gas-powered infrastructure with clean energy alternatives.

Perhaps the most relevant example is the Ride and Drive Electric program, which put $46 million into strengthening EV infrastructure. These funds—provided by the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation—will go toward recruiting and training electrical workers from all backgrounds, including underrepresented minorities. As a result, businesses will have a more robust workforce that can develop, expand, and repair EV charger networks across the country.

That’s just one example of recently announced or implemented EV legislation, including:

  • Lowering charger installation costs: The Department of Treasury proposed a 30% tax credit to offset the cost of EV chargers for both individuals and businesses.
  • Filling gaps in EV charging networks: The Department of Transportation committed $623 million to expand EV charging networks into locations such as schools, parks, libraries, and multi-family housing.
  • Helping school districts buy clean buses: The Environmental Protection Agency awarded $1 billion so 280 school districts can purchase 2,700 clean energy-powered school buses.
  • Opening federally-funded charging stations: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s NEVI program is providing $2.4 billion to companies building EV charging stations across the country.
  • Continuing investment in EV R&D: In early 2024, the Department of Energy announced $131 million in funding to support research, development, and technology integration for zero-emission vehicles.

EV tax credits help drive vehicle sales

For Biden’s investments to pay off, consumers must also feel confident about buying EVs. To that end, his administration introduced a tax credit program for individuals buying new and used EVs. Customers can choose whether to apply these credits to their income tax or transfer them to a car dealer in exchange for an immediate discount.

These tax credits are not insignificant. During the 2023 tax year, anyone buying a new EV was eligible for up to $7,500, while used buyers qualified for up to $4,000. These rates are based on currently-eligible models included in the FuelEconomy.gov website. For example, new sedans and passenger cars priced at $55,000 or less qualify for the credit, while used price requirements drop to $25,000. For customers seeking affordable prices—as well as dealers looking to sell—these credits can go a long way toward putting another EV on the road.

Tailpipe pollution limits disincentivize gas vehicles

The Biden administration recently unveiled its final national pollution standards with the goal of limiting tailpipe pollution. The new regulations call for a 50% reduction in average GHG emissions for light-duty vehicles and 44% for medium-duty vehicles. On top of these reductions, manufacturers must remove 95% of health-damaging fine particulate matter from gas vehicles.

If EV legislation is the incentivizing carrot, these pollution standards are the disincentivizing stick. The regulations, which take effect for model year 2027 vehicles, add to existing requirements implemented for model year 2023 and newer vehicles. As a result, manufacturers will face increasingly stringent requirements for producing gas-powered cars in the next decade.

By 2032, Americans won’t just have more reasons to buy EV vehicles—car companies will have more reasons to build them.

In Canada, zero-emission vehicles are becoming the new norm

It’s not just American legislators investing in EV technology. Canada has adopted the ambitious goal of ensuring all new vehicles are zero emission by 2035. If successful, this plan would end the use of all light gas-powered vehicles by 2050.

Of course, ambitious legislation requires equally ambitious investments. Most notably, the Canadian government has already invested $2 billion into Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV). This program offers up to $5,000 for consumers buying or leasing EVs across Canadian provinces and territories. Carsharing companies can also take advantage of the incentive program if they are eligible under Transport Canada’s guidelines.

On top of these investments, Canada is also looking ahead to infrastructure. Lawmakers have allocated $1.2 billion to EV infrastructure development, which will install more than 43,000 chargers across the country. Canada is also introducing tax credits that specifically apply to fast-charging infrastructure. These advancements will occur alongside developments to Canada’s electrical grid, since current EV projects suggest 9.5% of all Canadian electricity will be dedicated to EV use by 2050.

How ChargeLab helps you capture this opportunity

Between high demand and clean energy legislation, there’s never been a better time to invest in EV technology. The savvy businesses that get involved by building charger infrastructure or developing efficient car batteries won’t just reap the economic rewards—they will also lay the groundwork for a more sustainable future.

When it’s time to invest in your own charging network, ChargeLab can help. Our comprehensive platform is a leading choice for manufacturers, turnkey installers, and network operators. And because our foundational software for EV chargers is open, interoperable, and hardware-agnostic, EV charging will be accessible in places that need it most. Get in touch to learn more.

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