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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A new initiative from a diverse array of groups from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to the Edison Electric Institute and major automaker trade organizations is launching Wednesday.

What to watch: Its goal is to mobilize private capital and forge public-private partnerships to rapidly accelerate the deployment of electric vehicle charging stations and related infrastructure nationwide.

Why it matters: The group, known as the National EV Charging Initiative, counts among its members electrical workers who will help supply and install the infrastructure to power EVs as well as advocates who are focused on addressing racial, economic and environmental inequities.

Between the lines: The 24 signatories of the MOU include some strange bedfellows, including unions, electrical utilities and environmental groups that have sparred in the past over other issues.

  • They include the Alliance for Transportation Electrification, which counts GM, Ford and Honda among its members.
  • Also part of the new push is the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which has on its membership roster BMW, Ford, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota, and the nonprofit group Veloz, which brings in PG&E, Uber and Lyft.
  • There's also The Coalition for Green Capital, Ceres, CALSTART, the California Electric Transportation Coalition, Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and Green Latinos, among other signatories.

How it works: The MOU acknowledges "the need for collaboration between policymakers at all levels of government, fleet owners, organized labor, electric utilities, and financiers in order to build out EV charging infrastructure."

  • According to Colleen Quinn, the founder and partner of eMobility Advisors, a public affairs firm that is spearheading the initiative on behalf of NRDC, the U.S. needs to mobilize both public and private funding to get to President Biden's goal of having 50% of vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2030 be electric vehicles.
  • The bipartisan infrastructure plan that passed the Senate on Tuesday includes $7.5 billion to fund the construction of EV charging stations.

What they're saying: "We're bringing the entire utility industry together, so you've got the manufacturing of the vehicles, you've also got, you know, basically the new, the new fueling providers, which is in the utility industry," Quinn told Axios.

Of note: The initiative has an environmental justice component, with member groups dedicated to bringing EV charging to areas that are more affected by pollution and to people who "spend a disproportionate share of their income on vehicle fuel and maintenance."

Yes, but: It's unclear how much money NRDC and other member groups will direct toward this effort to lobby federal and state governments, which will help determine whether this is successful.

Go deeper

GM plans to double revenues by 2030 as it rolls out EVs and services

GM CEO Mary Barra. Photo: GM

General Motors plans to double its revenues over the next decade as it transitions to an all-electric future, tapping into software and subscription services that enable new vehicle experiences and connect customers' digital lives, the company told reporters on Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's an extraordinary target for a lumbering industrial giant that is trying to transform itself from automaker to "platform innovator."

Biden admin moves to restore climate change safeguards to environment law

President Biden in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Biden administration announced plans Wednesday to restore climate change protections to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that were dismantled when former President Trump was in office.

Why it matters: The White House Council on Environmental Quality plans to bring back a requirement for federal agencies to "evaluate all the relevant environmental impacts of the decisions they are making" for projects such as highways, mines, gas pipelines and water infrastructure, per a CEQ statement.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Oct 7, 2021 - Economy & Business

Student transportation startup Zum raises $130 million

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Zum Services, a Redwood City, Calif.-based student transportation startup, raised $130 million at an $800 million pre-money valuation led by SoftBank.

Why it matters: School bus transportation has become a nationwide problem, due to driver shortages, with some states even calling in the National Guard to help.