The New EPA Guidance is a Huge Boost for Electric Vehicles

Joseph Nagle
April 18, 2023

After a decade of struggling to gain any kind of a foothold, the electric vehicle industry is finally having its moment.

Recently, the EPA announced new emissions rules that will result in an EV market share of about 60% by 2030. Putting the US on well on track to begin the phase-out of commuter gas-powered vehicles. While this news is excellent for the EV industry it's also great news for Americans. The new rules are projected to save Americans trillions of dollars in health and fuel costs and eliminate nearly 10 billion tons of vehicle emissions.

While some still believe that EVs are light years away from where they should be for something like this, recent developments from the auto OEMs paint a different picture. The number of available EV models, charging stations, and total EV deployments have tripled since 2021. This is a direct result of the Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Bill as there has been significant public and private investment into electric cars and charging programs. The investment and spending from these laws enabled the EPA to set more stringent targets than it might have been able to otherwise.

The new EPA rules do not mandate a certain percentage of EV sales (as some have suggested), but rather mandate rapidly decreasing average fleet emissions. Those emissions will need to drop by an average of 13% annually until 2032. Currently, the average new vehicle in 2021 emits about four times as much as the 2032 rule.

There is a lot that needs to get done first

While these rules are a great step in forcing the hand of the major automakers, they are the easiest steps to take now, the industry needs to get to work.

EVs are about to be just about everywhere, and most states are not ready for that to happen. The good news is that there's plenty of time to get ready, but the auto OEMs, utilities, and changing providers are going to need to really get moving to meet these goals.

What is happening is a massive shift, and while these rules are targeted at tailpipe emissions that largely affect automakers, there is a substantial trickle-down effect in other industries, notably electricity generation and charging capabilities. So while in the past when EPA regulations of emissions changed only the automotive sector needed to comply, now multiple industries have to step up in order to meet these new requirements.

Currently, there is not enough energy produced daily that could power all those EVs; however, as more and more solar and wind projects get off the ground and more battery systems (this being key) are deployed, utilities can produce and store enough energy to meet these demands. Additionally, as more energy-saving devices are installed, demand will slow as well. While auto OEMs and utilities have a tall yet manageable task, the real trouble comes down to plugs or lack thereof.

Charging is the key

To be sure, charging providers have made monumental strides in rolling out more public-facing stations across the US, and that will certainly continue for the time being. The problem with that is public charging infrastructure is only a small piece of the overall charging ecosystem. In fact, 90% of EV drivers prefer to charge at home, and once they do have to charge at home, they only use public chargers about 8 times a year!

So bringing EV charging access to where people live is paramount, and for those living in apartments, that is the biggest problem.

It's no secret that EV charging in apartments is difficult. That's why only ~9% of EVs were registered in apartment communities, and even with the massive amounts of incentives coming in they are still not going to be enough. Not because the money isn't there but because most charging systems for apartments are just public charging stations shoehorned in. This causes another cascade to happen, where a property installs a handful of stations to cover their current needs, than in a few years, when incentive money is gone, they need a few more only to find out their building is tapped out of power. This then forces the property owners into a no-win situation where they need to either pay for massive infrastructure upgrades or simply only offer a handful of charging stations permanently.

It's because of this that Orange even exists. We wanted to build something specifically for charging an EV at an apartment. When we researched what was available, it was clear that lower-power outlets were the key not only to unlocking this market but were the best way to get it to scale as well. We even built our system to be affordable without incentives, oftentimes, we win on price even when others do get substantial incentive funds.

Over the next 7 years, a lot of changes will come to the market, but rest assured, with Orange Outlets, we have solved EV charging at apartments.

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