IBEW Contractor Touts EV Network with DOT Secretary Buttigieg, Gov. Whitmer

IBEW Detroit Local 58 member Bill Baisden joined Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a May 16 press conference announcing the first U.S. Canada electric vehicle corridor.

The corridor is a critical link in the network of 500,000 charging stations that President Biden has repeated publicly that IBEW members will build.

Baisden, owner of Dynamic Electric Group and a journey- level electrician, spoke about the exploding renewable energy market after the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“Cars have always been king here in the Motor City – and they still are,” Baisden said at the Port of Detroit event across from Windsor, Ontario. “But there has been an unmistakable shift in the kinds of cars people buy. In the past two years, we have seen exponential growth in the residential EV charging market to meet the demand for electric vehicles.”

The new EV corridor will stretch from Kalamazoo, Mich., to Quebec City, Quebec, and include 75,000 miles in the United States. Featuring fast chargers at approximately 50-mile intervals, it is part of the 500,000 public EV chargers made possible by $7.5 billion in federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Baisden said electric vehicle adoption is vital to the country’s climate goals and IBEW members are on the front lines of this transition. The Departments of Transportation and Energy require Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP) certification for electricians working on EV charging infrastructure projects funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, meaning this high-quality training is mandated for those installing and maintaining the network.

The IBEW is the world's largest electrical union, with more than 400,000 journey-level electricians, including 23,000 who are EVITP-certified in the United States and 2,000 in Canada. Since President Biden traveled to the Canadian capital of Ottawa in March, IBEW members are intensifying efforts to convince officials to require EVITP certification for EV charger installations in Canada.

The May 16 event with Canadian Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra sought to celebrate the continued collaboration between the United States and Canada to lead the world in electric vehicle jobs, manufacturing and supply chains.

“With historic investments in EV infrastructure from the Biden-Harris administration and the Canadian government, we are creating a new generation of good-paying manufacturing jobs, making it possible for drivers everywhere to reap the benefits and savings of these vehicles while helping us fight climate change,” Buttigieg said.

Detroit Local 58 was among the first local unions in the IBEW to adopt EVITP in 2011. Today Local 58 boasts 600 EVITP-certified members. This nationally recognized certification means chargers will be installed safely by highly-qualified journey-level electricians.

“With all of the automakers coming out with RVs, and GM saying it’s going to be producing 100 percent electric by 2035, cars,, as we have known them in the last 100 years,, are going to be phasing out,” Baisden said. “Gas stations will eventually start drying up, and EV chargers will be everywhere.”

Also in Detroit, Local 58 Business Representative Andre Crook participated in a conversation at the Asian- Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, discussing the importance of ensuring that the benefits of an EV future reach all communities, including where federally funded chargers are sited to how they are financed.

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