How to ensure electric cars aren’t just for rich people

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In late January, General Motors announced a pledge to only sell electric vehicles by 2035 and make roughly 30 different models of automobile without a traditional combustion engine. A week later, Ford revealed it was pouring more than $20 billion into its EV program and that it would only offer electric cars in Europe by 2030. By 2025, Jaguar will become an all-electric luxury line of cars. Meanwhile, Tesla, the world’s biggest EV maker, is building a massive factory near Austin, Texas, where it will build not just sedans and trucks but also, potentially, the batteries.

As automakers ramp up EV production, U.S. car buyers are increasingly making the switch themselves. With more than a dozen new electric cars and SUVs set to hit U.S. showrooms this year, sales are poised to reach record levels in 2021, industry analysts say.

That’s driving state agencies, electric utilities, and startups to install thousands more EV charging stations in public places so that drivers can get around without running out of juice. Chargers are popping up in office building garages, retail outlet parking lots, highway corridors, and apartment complexes.