WASHINGTON — Ron Rattie has been driving electric vehicles since 2018, recently crossing the country in his new Volkswagen ID.4 SUV.
He charged up at EV charging stations from Maryland to California along the way.
“From (Maryland) to LA, I know where the charging stations are now because I’ve done the trip,” Rattie said."It’s quite a bit cheaper. It’s like 1990s gas prices."
That’s one reason why millions of Americans like Rattie have traded up gas-powered vehicles for EVs.
California now accounts for roughly half of all electronic vehicles sold in the U.S. It’s also where Rattie said he found the most charging stations.
But not enough to meet the demand for them, he says.
“I’ve gone (to a charging station) and it’s actually gotten to the point where it’s full,” he said. “If somebody shows up and they need to get back on the road too, they have to wait 30 minutes until I’m finished.”
The more chargers there are, he says, the more EVs that can be charged at a single time.
President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill includes $5 billion to build out a national network of 5,000 charging stations.
This fiscal year, California will receive $56 million for this effort. That’s the second-most in the nation, behind only Texas.
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., voted for the infrastructure bill.
“GM has already announced even before this that they’re going full electric by 2035, no more gas vehicles after that date,” Lieu said. “Porsche made the same announcement. So this is the direction we’re heading.”
In order to access the funds, California must submit a deployment plan. Once that’s approved, the money is likely dispersed to the California Department of Transportation, then distributed to local cities and counties via grants. Localities would work in conjunction with contracted companies that specialize in EV charging infrastructure.
Alternative fuel corridors will be added along highways. Rattie says that level 3 chargers — that can top off an empty battery in about 30 minutes — would be ideal.
“It’s like a gas station in that you’re going to get refilled faster. But it’s not as fast as a gas station,” he said. “The technology isn’t quite there yet, but we’re getting close.”
Under an order signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, by 2035, all new cars and passenger trucks sold in California must be zero-emission vehicles. This means there will be even more drivers like Rattie and under the infrastructure bill, more charging stations, so they can power up and hit the road.