NEW YORK CITY, New York: To comply with the requirements of the "Made in America" laws, a $7.5 billion federal program meant to accelerate the electric vehicle industry, producers and operators of electric vehicle chargers in the US are preparing for a slowdown in production and distribution.
Tesla, ChargePoin, EVgo and Electrify America are some of the major manufacturers and network operators of EV charging stations.
In February, the White House laid out the requirements of the program, which is are part of President Joe Biden's efforts to build an electric-friendly US highway system by 2030.
However, the EV charging industry has been caught unprepared by the implementation of requirements to immediately begin charger assembly at American factories and use locally-made iron or steel cases.
However, company executives and some state officials who will manage the federal funds warn that there is currently a lack of domestic production capacity, especially high-speed chargers, adding that the enforcement of the requirements will slow production and increase costs.
Meanwhile, Aatish Patel, co-founder of XCharge North America, which imports chargers from its factory in China, said, "Everyone was hoping that there would be a waiver on the Buy America and Made in America. That throws a wrench in a lot of people's plans," as quoted by Reuters.
Some two-thirds of the federal funding will be allocated to states, and the rest to cities, counties and Native American tribes.
Additionally, the initial $1.25 billion round of Biden's funding will be allocated to highway fast chargers, with later rounds covering slower chargers.
According to EVgo, which operates more than 850 fast-charging locations, there is a process to individually request for a deferral of the "Made in America" rules, but it is unsure if this will be allowed by the government.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Levy, EVgo Chief Commercial Officer, said there is a risk that 2023 projects could wait while the supply chain catches up, though it is difficult to plan for the future.
"You have this uncertainty. Am I going to get that waiver? Do I need to hold off? What does it look like?" he said, according to Reuters.