The idea for an accountability story examining how President Joe Biden was doing on the goal of creating a national network of electric vehicle charging stations came up during conversations between Washington reporter Matthew Daly and news editor Carole Feldman. Editors on the Climate team quickly signed on. Daly worked closely with the Climate team’s Alexa St. John to tell the story of the buildout and the politics surrounding it, focusing on Ohio, one of the first states to open a charging station with federal dollars.

The AP team obtained an exclusive joint interview with the head of the charging program and Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt. They incorporated 2023 polling on EVs by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. Climate team photographer Josh Bickel, meanwhile, traveled to a charging station near Columbus, Ohio, and talked to drivers about their experiences with charging EVs. He captured strong photos to illustrate the story. 

The story found that the effort to build an EV charging network is accelerating after a slow start, but still likely to be short of the requirements if the country is to shift to EV vehicles in coming years.