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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Klein: "I will seize the opportunity to steward a critical shift" in transition to electric cars

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A newly formed government office tasked with creating a nationwide network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations has its first executive director, the U.S. Departments of Energy and Transportation announced.

Gabe Klein will head the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation (JOET), the DOE and DOT jointly announced Tuesday. Klein was formerly commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation and director of the D.C. Department of Transportation, the announcement reports. As executive director of the JOET, Klein will manage federal efforts to build a national EV-charging network and other federal EV programs, according to the announcement.

DOE Sec. Jennifer Granholm said the agency is "pleased to welcome" Klein, calling his appointment "the latest milestone for our interagency efforts to kick-start the electric transportation future here in the United States,” the announcement reports.

“Gabe has spent his career spurring innovation for sustainable transportation," Granholm said, "and we couldn’t be more excited to have him working for more electric cars and trucks on our roadways.”

The JOET was launched last December with $7.5 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law "to build out a national electric vehicle charging network that can build public confidence, with a focus on filling gaps in rural, disadvantaged, and hard-to-reach locations," the DOE announced at the time.

States, cities, and localities can access JOET support to develop EV-charging plans in areas that lack investments in EV-charging infrastructure, according to the announcement. The assistance "will ease the clean energy transition for under-served communities and create good-paying jobs that accelerate the growth of the clean energy workforce," the DOE states.

Klein said the JOET's mission to build out an EV-charging network with 500,000 chargers nationwide is a central tenet of the BIL's investment in good-paying jobs and equitable access to affordable transportation.

“I will seize the opportunity to steward a critical shift in our transportation economy from fossil fuels to clean, electric energy systems," Klein said in the announcement, "as there has never been a more important mission in our recent history than solving the climate crisis.”

Pete Buttigieg, DOT Secretary, said his agency was eager to work with Klein to further the goals of the BIL "and ensure that every community — from the largest cities to the most rural areas — can reap the benefits of the electric vehicle revolution."

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