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Air quality in metropolitan areas has been a concern in North America and abroad for many years. As early as the 1990s, automotive manufacturers began implementing PZEV (Partial-Zero Emissions Vehicles) and ULEV (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles) emissions mitigation technology. Today, manufacturers responding to consumer demands for the next level of environmentally sustainable personal transportation are commercializing ZEVs – zero-emissions vehicles or electric vehicles (EV). However, this modern technology presents a new challenge: the infrastructure needed to support a nascent technology. The transition toward EV requires automotive and battery charging manufacturers, grid operators, and regulators to collaborate on an approach that addresses future infrastructure requirements.

The Biden Plan

The Biden Administration’s ambitious plan to mitigate global warming and climate change includes historical allocations to support every facet of the EV charging network. The $1 trillion infrastructure package recently approved by Congress includes $5 billion for highway charging stations critical to addressing consumer concerns about the range of travel. This allocation effectively doubles the collective investment by federal, state, and utility companies to date in EV charging infrastructure.

But proliferating charging stations give rise to another challenge: grid resiliency and power transmission. Considering the impacts of recent wildfires, hurricanes, and floods on critical infrastructure, an additional $2.5 billion and $3 billion for transmission lines and smart grids are intended to shore up the power delivery system backbone. A separate Bill still in congressional debate authorizes a 30% tax credit for developers of long-distance transmission lines.

Are these initiatives and incentives enough to move the needle on wider EV adoption? High-voltage transmission lines are critical to conveying power across power grids spanning multiple states. Topography, easements, and eminent domain challenges may slow the pace of connecting this charging network to generation since high-voltage transmission lines are regulated at the state level. On the other hand, momentum is gathering behind the global referendum on combatting climate change. This may facilitate greater collaboration among states for improvements to interstate transmission line infrastructure.

Increased Asset Value

Real estate developers and property managers acknowledge varying degrees in demand for EV charging based in part on demographics and geography. When revenue and cost models for EV charging are aligned to generate sufficient ROI on EV charging—and if federal subsidies, state incentives, and utility rebates continue to drive down net costs to implement and operate—developers and property managers may be well-positioned to reap the benefits of increased asset value, tenant retention, customer traffic, and sustainability metrics.

Will electric vehicles will play a dominant role in the next era of transportation?

The future for EV charging looks very bright, and the smart bet would be on an abundance of EV chargers throughout North America in the next decade. Contact the EEP team today to learn more about adding EV chargers to your facility.