Biden wants millions of electric vehicles on the roads. Can the power grid handle it?

The U.S. reached “the tipping point” this year, said Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of General Motors. Demand for battery-electric vehicles is growing at a record pace, spurred in part by the debut of an assortment of new models. But not everyone is convinced she’s right. Studies find consumers are still reluctant to buy electric cars due to high costs, lack of a nationwide charging network — and growing concerns about the energy grid.

Those are all issues that President Joe Biden aims to address, among other ways, through the proposed infrastructure bill that would set aside $170 billion to directly back the shift to battery-electric vehicles. About 10 percent of that funding is earmarked for a coast-to-coast charging system to rival today’s ubiquitous network of gasoline stations.

“We need to jam on the accelerator here,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said during a recent online seminar outlining the administration’s desire to promote battery electric vehicles — with an emphasis on designing, engineering and producing them domestically.