Rural EV charging incentivized in much of the US with Biden guidance

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The Biden administration will use a broad legal interpretation to provide tax credits to EV charging projects in a large swath of the country.

The Treasury Department on Friday released additional guidance providing more specific information on what projects will qualify for the revived 30C tax credit. Re-enacted under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the 30C credit will cover up to 30% of the cost of charger installations (up to $100,000) for individuals and businesses in “eligible census tracts.” The new guidance provides clarification on that eligibility.

The focus will be on “low-income communities and non-urban areas,” according to a White House press release, but the administration expects the tax credit to be available in areas representing approximately two-thirds of the U.S. population.

Highway sign for electric-car fast-charging station at BP in Metrolina area of Charlotte, NC

This isn’t the first time the Biden Administration has used a broad interpretation of legislation to ensure its EV policies are as widely applicable as possible. As The Hill notes, it also allowed car-like crossovers to qualify for the tax credit for electric SUVs. The SUV credit has a higher price cap than the one for cars ($80,000 versus $55,000), so this could potentially help more vehicles qualify.

A broad interpretation of qualifying census tracts for the EV charging credit could complement the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program, which commits $5 billion over five years for charging infrastructure. This directly funds chargers, but mainly along highway corridors. The tax credit could help build up infrastructure in more locations away from highways.

Such expansion would fit areas of rural America that perhaps most need charging infrastructure—as emphasized by gas-station and convenience store industry charging projects—while capitalizing on what some market-based information has suggested as soaring EV demand in rural areas.

FreeWire Boost Charger at convenience store

FreeWire Boost Charger at convenience store

According to the White House, the number of publicly available EV charging ports has grown by over 70% since President Biden took office. There are now about 170,000 public chargers nationwide, and the administration claims the country is on track for 500,000 by 2026—achieving a Biden goal four years early.

The administration is also tackling charger reliability. The Energy Department on Thursday announced nearly $149 million in grants to repair or replace non-operational chargers, an effort the White House claims will bring nearly 4,500 EV charging ports back online.

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