Aug 24, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Biden administration pressed on EV charging payment equity

Illustration of an electric car charging pump with a dollar bill as the prong.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

An array of groups is pressing the Transportation Department to ensure federally funded EV charging stations are accessible to drivers who lack contactless credit cards and face other barriers, Ben writes.

Why it matters: Operating regulations risk freezing out people in low-income and communities of color who lack banking services or are "underbanked," the National Consumer Law Center warns.

Zoom in: They're among several groups, in comments on the pending rules, saying DOT should require stations to accept chip and swipe payments in addition to contactless payment.

  • The NCLC goes further by urging the rules to require that states provide drivers with EV payment cards.
  • "Nearly twenty percent of Americans are unbanked or underbanked, with markedly higher rates for Black and Hispanic Americans," the center said.

Catch up fast: DOT is writing standards to govern billions of dollars in EV charging station funding under the bipartisan infrastructure law and payment requirements are one element.

  • GM suggests several reasons for providing options beyond contactless payment with credit cards. Among them: helping unbanked customers by providing more ways to use prepaid cards.
  • The EV advocacy group Plug In America's comments cite several equity concerns around payment methods and more.
  • One of its suggestions is that states getting federal funding for charging stations should be "encouraged to reward bidders who provide subsidized charging to income-qualified EV drivers."

Want more stories like this? Sign up for Energy Policy

Go deeper