Electric vehicle movement faces major roadblocks


(NewsNation) — While it’s an exciting step forward for environmentalists, there are still plenty of roadblocks ahead before the U.S. can get fully behind the electric vehicle movement.

The Biden administration is doubling down on the race to build electric vehicles, all pursuing making the U.S. carbon neutral by 2050, but there are problems with the plan. For example, where are all the EV chargers coming from?

President Joe Biden is leaning into the environmental benefits of electric vehicles. In addition, Congress passed an infrastructure deal to replace government vehicles with EVs and electrify 20% of the nation’s school buses. But it’s not all smooth road ahead; there’s the issue of infrastructure. There are 250 million vehicles on the road in the U.S. today; just under 1% of them are electric. So as more of us buy them, can our electric grid handle the demand?

Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill allocates $65 billion to beef up the electric grid. But even with those improvements, how will you charge your car? While there are currently gas stations on almost every corner, many wonder if as many charging stations will be needed.

The U.S. has about 47,000 charging stations, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That may seem like a lot, but there are some gaps compared to the 145,000 gas stations around the country.

This becomes a major issue in places with so-called “dead zones.” Wyoming has only 58 charging stations and Montana has 80. Meanwhile, California has about 13,000 and New York has 2,600. This can put restrictions on drivers. If you want to take your electric car on a cross-country road trip, you could run into major issues charging your ride in the Plains areas, potentially leaving you stranded.

If you do find a charging station, not all of them are “fast charge,” so it can take up to five hours to fully charge a vehicle in some cases, leaving you stuck at the charging station for hours on end. NewsNation’s Kelsey Kernstine took a cross-country road trip from New York to L.A. in an electric vehicle — a car distance of about 2,800 miles, timing more than 40 hours on the road. See what she found on her trip.

The Biden administration will invest $5 billion to build more than 500,000 EV charging stations along U.S. highways. But perhaps the biggest challenge is convincing you to make the switch to EV to begin with.

According to the Pew Research Center, America is divided, with 51% of adults opposing phasing out the production of gas-powered cars and 47% in support.

Meanwhile, people aren’t quite yet on board with switching over to electric vehicles. While 39% of Americans say they are interested in purchasing an EV as their next car, 46% say they aren’t likely to consider a switch and 14% say they are outright against buying an EV altogether.

To even get close to being carbon neutral by the year 2050, at least 30% of Americans would need to own an electric vehicle.

This comes as Ford launches the first all-electric truck, the F-150 Lightning. The F-150 Lightning was first announced last year, and as of Monday morning, the 2022 model of the Lightning was sold out.

NewsNation was live for the launch the launch. Watch coverage here.

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