by Brent Wilson, CEO of Galvanic Energy.
Perhaps the most common argument against electric vehicles (EVs) has been the lack of recharging infrastructure. Many people think EVs are great for commuting or for driving around town, but take one on a road trip and things can get dicey. Who wants to get stuck with a low battery and no idea where the closest charging station might be?
The federal government has taken a $7.5-billion step toward bridging that viability gap by funding a national charging station network that includes all 50 states. The measure goes hand-in-hand with a Biden administration plan advocating that half of all new car sales be EVs by 2030.
The charging station funding was included in the administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill passed by Congress in November, and the money will be rolled out to states over the next five years. About $5 billion will be used to install charging stations along major transportation corridors, and an additional $2.5 billion will be used primarily for charging stations in urban areas and small towns.
While this bill is an important step toward billing out a national EV charging network, the government program will undoubtedly fall short of what the country needs, industry watchers say.
While estimates vary, the Edison Electric Institute says the US will need more than 100,000 fast-charging ports to support the 22 million EVs projected to be on US streets and highways by 2030. That’s why the institute and its associated power companies have pledged to join the effort.
The institute says its coalition will build additional charging infrastructure nationwide to help alleviate so-called “range anxiety” and to pave the way for EVs to join the American mainstream.
EV owners and prospective buyers have been complaining about range anxiety for years. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, alongside private investment, could bring solutions that will remove a significant barrier standing between millions of potential EV buyers and their future dream cars.
Can the federal government, states, power companies and others work together to build a network virtually from scratch? The enormous undertaking would represent a revolution in transportation.
Think about how the US highway system gave birth to the Great American Road Trip. Americans will always travel. What changes are the vehicles they use to get there, and this network could be a gateway to our next journey.
The EV revolution started more than a decade ago as the world began to embrace cleaner, more environmentally friendly forms of energy. Initially driven by adventurers and pioneers, dreamers and optimists soon joined the movement.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill has opened a pathway to an EV network all of us have been waiting for, and soon, cross-country EV travel will not be as forbidding as it is now. It’s exciting to anticipate the day when the phrase, “plug it in,” will be as common in the open-road vernacular as “fill ‘er up.”
Brent Wilson is CEO of Galvanic Energy, a geoscience-driven resource exploration company with expertise in reservoir characterization and mineral acquisition. Employing innovative, proprietary discovery methods to identify natural resources essential to the US renewable energy sector, Galvanic Energy develops resource plays that require low environmental footprints and utilize the least invasive extraction processes to provide vertical integration of green technologies toward the development of electric mobilization and energy storage.
Galvanic has assembled a 100,000-acre lithium brine prospect in the Smackover Formation of southern Arkansas. Estimated at 4 million tons LCE and averaging 325 ppm lithium, Galvanic’s prospect is the most concentrated lithium brine prospect in North America.