The White House on Thursday announced an array of new initiatives aimed at clinching one key goal in a transition away from burning fossil fuels — switching the nation’s millions of drivers from gas guzzlers to electric vehicles.

The key to this transition? Installing a widespread national network of electric vehicle charging stations that will allow potential drivers to get around a key psychological problem: “range anxiety.” At present, many people are justifiably afraid that they’ll run out of charge on their EV far from a station where they can repower its battery. We know it’s easy in most places to find a gas station, but we don’t know as much about charging stations. And without that assurance, EV sales will continue to be held back.

To change this, the White House announced a new designation of up to $4.5 billion in Energy Department loan guarantees to support new types of EV charging infrastructure, plans to designate and develop key electric vehicle “charging corridors” across the country, plans for the government itself to procure large numbers of electric vehicles and research initiatives at the Department of Energy and its laboratories to improve EV charging technologies.

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