“Where do I find a charger?”: Electric vehicle push fuels concerns about infrastructure

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Tustin, California — Electric vehicle sales are accelerating, with a big push by California to stop selling new gas cars by 2035. But not all drivers are sold. 

“My own concern is the range,” Novia Wong said. “Where do I find a charger? How far can I really go?” 

These are questions that dealership owner John Patterson gets from every customer. 

“One of the big words that we hear is, ‘range anxiety,'” he said. 

On Wednesday, President Biden promised to make recharging more reliable, beginning with the construction of chargers along 53,000 miles of national highways. 

Since last year, U.S. automakers have invested nearly $85 billion in electric vehicles, the White House said. 

The average cost of the vehicles is around $66,000, according to Edmunds, but prices are coming down. 

The starting prices for a Kia EV6 and Hyundai IONIQ 5 are around $40,000, Patterson said. That’s below the average cost of a new gas vehicle — $48,301— according to Kelley Blue Book. 

Patterson believes the biggest roadblock for EVs now is electrical infrastructure. 

“It has to be figured out in order for this mandate to work by 2035,” he said. “Because right now we’re not there.” 

California’s power grid was stretched to the limit during last week’s heat wave, raising questions about whether the power grid can support the level of EVs that the government wants to see. 

Energy economist James Bushnell said “it’s less a concern about the total amount of electricity and it’s more about the where and when that the charging is happening.” 

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