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California Gets New $200 Million EV Infrastructure Investment

The next round of EV infrastructure investment from Electrify America includes another $200 million to the state of California. Shown here, a new EA charging station in Baker, California. (Electrify America)

While President Biden's American Jobs Plan includes a robust electric vehicle infrastructure component that could put 500,000 more charging stations into the ground in the U.S., the truth is that things are already moving in that direction.

For example, Electrify America (EA) announced more details of its big EV charging station investment this week. As part of the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal settlement, the automaker was forced to set up EA and to promote EV use in the U.S., including spending $800 million in California. This week, EA announced details about how it will spend the next $200 million of that. The charging station network operator has already spent or allocated $400 million in the state.

The new $200-million tranche will include $25 million for charging stations in Los Angeles for transit buses and medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Electrify America will also invest in five new metro areas (Bakersfield, Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, Stockton, and Visalia) and expand its EV chargers and education efforts in some of the metro areas where it has already begun its investments. Additional investments will promote EV charging on highways and regional routes, as well as in rural areas. EA also plans to invest in renewable electricity generation for "select stations."

It's not just Electrify America that's moving forward on EV infrastructure in California. The Stockton Unified School District will save $500,000 with a new smart charging strategy for its zero-emissions school bus fleet. In other parts of the U.S., EA money has helped Maine to complete the first phase of a planned network of Level 3 chargers across the state.

Globally, there is plenty of EV infrastructure activity taking place. To cite one notable example, Chinese automaker NIO just installed its first battery-swap stations outside of its home country. NIO also announced this week that it will install four units in Norway in September. Owners of its vehicles pull into a battery-swap station to change batteries rather than wait to recharge them.

All of this expansion will continue for the next few years, according to research company Technavio, which issued a report in late April that predicted the EV charger market will grow by 18.5 million units between 2020 and 2024, or around 29%.

Back in the U.S., the Department of Energy said this week that 50% of the states now have at least 1,000 non-residential, public and private EV charging stations installed, not including Level 1 chargers. This is good news for automakers ranging from Acura to Volvo, which are in the midst of developing and launching new EVs at a rapid pace.