Federal Investment in EV Charging Infrastructure for Economic Recovery, Climate, and Public Health

The American auto sector has not been spared from the economic damage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Production has been suspended in domestic and most international markets, while Ford, GM, and Tesla have shifted factories to make medical ventilators. And although many companies have paid full wages during the production stoppage, tens of thousands of US auto workers are expected to be laid off in the coming weeks.

Read the full report here.

Prior to the outbreak, America was showing early signs of a longer-term shift from fossil-fueled to electric-powered vehicles. Though they account for less than 1% of the current US vehicle market, EVs have grown at an average annual rate of nearly 30% in recent years, while battery and overall EV vehicle prices have fallen steeply. COVID-19 has deflated expectations for 2020, with global EV sales projected to drop 43%, and the development of many new EV models has been put on hold because of hesitation among companies to invest in new product lines.

Despite these setbacks, demand for EVs is still high, with few alterations to long-term sales projections. However, a key bottleneck in industry growth is the lack of supporting infrastructure. As part of the response to the ongoing economic downturn, the federal government should finance deployment of charging infrastructure in cities and along the National Interstate Highway System. Deploying charging infrastructure will be an expansive and complex process, with installations as large as multi-vehicle stations or as small as home battery systems. We recommend deploying approximately 2,000 stations at US highway rest stops, as well as approximately 139,000 individual chargers on surface streets and parking areas in US metro areas. The deployments outlined in this paper would cost approximately $5 billion and create or support approximately 65,000 jobs.

Federal investment in EV infrastructure is a promising opportunity for Congress to support economic recovery while realizing environmental and public health gains. The transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US, at roughly 30% of total emissions, half of which come from passenger vehicles. Air pollution, to which cars are a major contributor, kills an estimated 90,000 Americans per year, and has been found to contribute to COVID-19 mortality as well.

Congress has taken unprecedented action to stem the tide of joblessness and economic devastation. By adding robust investments in EV infrastructure to these efforts, the US can ensure it maintains global competitiveness in the automotive industry and provide immediate and sustained economic stimulus with climate and public health co-benefits.

Read the full report here.


  • Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, America was showing early signs of a longer-term shift toward electric vehicles, but this trajectory is now in jeopardy, as is the health of the US auto sector more broadly.
  • Despite their continued popularity, growth of electric vehicles is hampered by lack of supporting infrastructure, such as charging stations. In the US, there is an anticipated need for 9.6 million EV chargers by 2030, with only 78,000 available as of March 2020.
  • Robust federal investment in EV infrastructure provides an opportunity to support broad economic recovery while realizing valuable environmental and public health benefits.
  • Federal investment of $5 billion in EV charging stations would support approximately 65,000 jobs in the near-term.