Center for American Progress

Historic Investments in Electric Vehicle Batteries and Chargers are Expanding Opportunities in Communities with High Poverty Rates

Historic Investments in Electric Vehicle Batteries and Chargers are Expanding Opportunities in Communities with High Poverty Rates

Since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, communities with higher poverty rates and lower median incomes have seen a surge of investment in manufacturing EV batteries and charging equipment.

An electric car is plugged into a charging station with a palm tree in the background.
An electric vehicle charges at a charging station in Torrance, California, on February 23, 2024. (Getty/Patrick T. Fallon)
Author’s note: See complete dataset of clean energy-related investment by congressional district here.

Investment in electric vehicle batteries and chargers has reached historic highs

Since the passage of the Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) in November 2021 and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in August 2022, the United States has seen monumental growth in battery and charger manufacturing for electric vehicles (EVs). Private and public investment in the manufacturing of batteries and EV chargers has totaled more than $45 billion since the IRA’s passage. This investment has grown substantially every quarter since the its passage. In fact, there was more battery and EV charger investment in just the first quarter of 2024 than there had been in all of 2022. A recent analysis by Rhodium Group and the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research finds that, between 2021 and 2023, annual investment into the EV and battery supply chain in the United States has increased by more than 180 percent. This investment has resulted in increased demand for EV industry labor and job opportunities for numerous low- and moderate-income communities. This piece explores these trends and their implications across congressional districts.

  • Over $45 billion has been invested in the domestic manufacturing of electric vehicle batteries, modules, and chargers since the passage of the IRA.
  • 78 percent of battery and EV charger investments went to congressional districts with median incomes below the national median income in the first quarter of 2024.
  • 65 percent of battery and EV charger investments went to districts with a higher poverty rate than the national rate in the first quarter of 2024.

Policy supporting domestic manufacturing growth will increase U.S. jobs and decrease emissions

The transportation sector accounts for the greatest share (28 percent) of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Continued investment and adoption of clean energy technologies, including EV batteries and chargers, is vital to reduce emissions. EV adoption rates in the United States grew 40 percent in 2023, and strategic investment in a national EV charging network is necessary to keep up with the pace of zero-emissions vehicle deployment and increase the public accessibility of EV charging stations.

A critical aspect of the United States’ joint-agency “Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization”—which aims for the sector to reach zero emissions by 2050—is to expand the U.S. domestic supply chain of batteries and charging infrastructure. The blueprint outlines numerous intermittent goals to cut transportation emissions, including building a network of 500,000 EV chargers by 2030 and developing a robust and sustainable domestic supply chain for clean technologies. Furthermore, the Build America Buy America Act, enacted with the IIJA, requires that at least 55 percent of the cost of all components for federally funded EV chargers be manufactured domestically. Building out the domestic supply chain for chargers, batteries, and other EV-related technologies is critical for the United States’ energy security, independence, and ability to reshape leadership on global clean energy supply chains and economies.

Uplifting the U.S. clean energy industry

An array of executive actions have been taken to promote U.S.-made EV technologies. In May, the Biden administration increased tariffs on EVs, batteries, and battery parts sourced from China, intending to protect American jobs and businesses; increase American exports; boost domestic manufacturing; and maintain the competitiveness of the American clean energy market. The administration has also worked to incentivize Americans to switch to electric vehicles. The IRA’s clean vehicle tax credit provides up to $7,500 toward purchasing a new EV that meets domestic battery and critical mineral sourcing requirements, and its advanced manufacturing production tax credit provides incentives for onshoring EV and battery investment that will yield nearly $135 billion in savings for clean technology manufacturers. Under the IIJA all EV charging infrastructure must be manufactured in America to be eligible for grants. These are just a few of multiple examples that demonstrate how executive action is fortifying the budding U.S. clean energy and technology industry.

See also

Since the IRA’s passage, battery and EV charger investment has occurred in communities with high poverty rates and low median incomes

With such immense EV-related technology investment, communities across the United States are experiencing a flourishing of clean energy manufacturing facilities and projects. In partnership with Rhodium Group and MIT CEEPR, CAP analyzed Clean Investment Monitor data of battery and EV charger investment at the congressional district level. Battery and EV charger investment has benefited more than 100 congressional districts across 31 states. These districts are represented by both political parties, with battery investment occurring largely in Republican-represented districts (71 percent) and investment in EV chargers being evenly split between Republican- and Democratic-represented districts. CAP’s analysis found that about three-quarters of EV batteries and charger investment has occurred in communities with median household incomes below the national median income of $74,755. Our analysis also finds that the majority of battery and EV charger investment has occurred in districts with poverty rates above the national poverty rate of 12.6 percent. For both economic indicators, the shares of investment remain roughly the same in both the first quarter of 2024 and between the passage of IRA (the third quarter of 2022) and the first quarter of 2024. This reflects a continued trend of clean energy and technology investment occurring in underserved communities with greater economic barriers and vulnerabilities to climate change impacts.

In the first quarter of 2024, 78.5 percent of the $11.5 billion invested in EV batteries and chargers went to communities with lower median incomes than the national median income. These communities are also benefiting from an increase in jobs in the manufacturing of clean energy technologies such as batteries and EVs. Over the past year, the IRA’s clean energy provisions have created over 310,000 new jobs in the manufacturing of clean energy technologies, over a third of which have occurred in low-income communities across 34 states. Continued clean energy investment in climate-vulnerable, low-income communities—as well as in emissions-reducing technologies such as EV batteries and chargers—can help carry out the administration’s goal to target investment to places left out and left behind and boost private domestic manufacturing.

Congressional districts with higher-than-average poverty rates have also seen a greater proportion of battery and EV charger investments. In the first quarter of 2024, 65 percent of these investments—nearly $7.5 billion—went to congressional districts with a higher poverty rate than the national poverty rate. Since the passage of the IRA (the third quarter of 2022 to the first quarter of 2024), more than $26 billion (58 percent) of battery and EV investments went to districts with a higher poverty rate than the national average.

Clean energy and technology investments that occur in economically underprivileged communities can give rise to new industries and provide local opportunities for residents. In the city of Marshall, Michigan, where the average median household income is lower than the national average, Ford is investing $3.5 billion in an EV battery plant that will bring an estimated 2,500 jobs to the area and place more than 240 acres of land at the new site into a conservation easement. As investment in EV-related technologies continues to grow and the country moves toward carbon-free transportation, it is crucial that access to job opportunities is expanded and maintained in low-income communities.

Major union wins in the EV manufacturing industry further ensure that the nation realizes an equitable, clean energy transition

As new facilities spring up throughout the country and bring new jobs to communities, ensuring that these jobs are well paying and maintain safe working conditions is an inseparable part of a clean economy transition that drives inclusive growth. Equitable, clean investment necessitates the protection and empowerment of auto industry workers, and in the past year, they have achieved significant gains. This past April, more than 2,600 workers at the Tennessee-based Volkswagen EV manufacturing plant voted to join the United Auto Workers Union (UAW). In early June, the UAW reached a tentative contract agreement with the Ohio-based Ultium EV battery plant that would guarantee a record 30 percent wage increase for workers over three years; a $3,000 ratification bonus; full-time health and safety representatives; and an industrial hygienist for 1,600 UAW members at Ultium Cells. The administration’s support for EV, battery, charger, and component manufacturing has promoted clean energy project investments and good union jobs, which will ensure high long-term job quality standards and equity in the manufacturing industry.


There has been historical investment in EV batteries and chargers in the United States, and much of it is taking place in communities with higher poverty rates and lower median incomes than the national average. Not only are these technology and battery investments happening in underserved areas, but they can also provide a pathway to higher-paying—and often unionized—jobs. The expansion of EV-related investment and job opportunities are imperative to fostering an equitable transition to a 100 percent clean transportation sector.


All investment data is directly provided by Rhodium Group and MIT CEEPR as part of their tracking through the Clean Investment Monitor (CIM). The dataset of announced investments in congressional districts can be downloaded here. This column’s investment estimates are based on data from two of three primary segments within the CIM: “Energy and Industry” and “Manufacturing.” Congressional district data at the “Retail” segment level are not available. For further information on investment categories and definitions, see the CIM methodology.

This column analyzes two technology types from Rhodium and MIT CEEPR’s dataset: Batteries and Fueling Equipment. Subcategories under Batteries include anode active materials (AAM), electrode active materials (EAM), cells, and modules. The only subcategory under Fueling Equipment is EV chargers, which substitutes the technology type name of Fueling Equipment in this column for clarity. For Figures 1 and 2, total investment in batteries and EV chargers since the passage of the IRA is calculated from investment in the selected technology types across all congressional districts from 2022 Q3 to 2024 Q1. CAP’s analysis uses 2022 Q3 as a starting point for IRA passage and calculates investment “since IRA” from this point onward. All investments are rounded in 2023 U.S. dollars.

All socioeconomic data is taken from the U.S. Census’ Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey (ACS) including the national median household income and poverty rate. The national poverty rate is estimated at 12.6 percent in the ACS and 11.5 percent in the Bureau’s Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement—this report uses the 12.6 percent estimate to keep data consistent with the ACS. For congressional districts that have received EV battery and/or charger investment, Figure 1 groups median household income into six ranges and shows the percent of actual investment going to each of these ranges. The national median income of $74,755 was rounded up to $75,000 in the pie chart, but the percentage of investment in districts below the median income is 73 percent both when rounded and not rounded. Figure 2 groups the poverty rate of the congressional district into four ranges and shows the total actual investment going to each of those ranges.

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Jasia Smith

Research Associate, Domestic Climate Policy

Jamie Friedman

Policy Analyst


Domestic Climate

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