News

Standardizing EV Charging Infrastructure

March 07, 2023 by Mike Falter

​​​​​​​The Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program allocates $2.5 billion to cities and states to build electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

The U.S. Federal government has announced the latest initiatives to meet its goal of 500,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and 50% of new car sales in the United States being electric by 2030. 

 

EV charging infrastructure. Image used courtesy of the U.S. Department of Transportation

 

The initiatives include:

  • Publishing minimum universal standards for federally funded EV infrastructure through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Standards and Requirements final rule.
  • Waivers to Buy America requirements for qualified EV charging equipment.
  • Cities, towns, and states can apply for the first tranche of the $2.5 billion in competitive grants (allocated in last year’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law) to build EV charging stations in their communities.

According to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, a primary goal of these latest initiatives is to provide common and universal standards for EV charging stations, similar to those that have existed for decades for gas stations, with the ultimate objective of making charging an EV just as safe, easy, and reliable as filling up a gas tank. 

Availability of a reliable charging network will address a significant challenge to broader EV adoption, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said. 

 

Standardizing Requirements for EV Charging Stations

The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Standards and Requirements, issued through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), is the final rule outlining regulations to set minimum standards and requirements for all publicly accessible EV charging infrastructure. The rule includes projects funded under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, including any charging infrastructure funded with Federal funds considered a project on a federal highway.

The NEVI Formula Program provides $5 billion to states to deploy EV charging infrastructure and establish an interconnected network to facilitate data collection, access, and reliability.

The Final rule’s scope includes installation, operation, and maintenance of EV charging infrastructure, along with interoperability of charging infrastructure to include traffic control devices, station signage, data formatting, and connectivity standards for EV station networks.  

The goal of the ruling is to have all new EV charging stations deployed across the U.S., operating in the same way and compatible with every EV on the road. 
 

Level 2 EV chargers. Image used courtesy of the U.S. Department of Transportation

 

Waiver to Buy America Requirements

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced the establishment of a temporary public interest waiver that removes Buy America requirements for steel, iron, manufactured products, and construction materials used specifically for electric vehicle (EV) chargers.

This waiver is temporary but essential to the immediate and rapid deployment of EV charging infrastructure across the US. 

Coverage under the waiver will phase out on July 1, 2024, for any EV charging infrastructure that does not have at least 55% of its components sourced from U.S. manufacturers.

The waiver doesn’t apply to EV charger housing components, predominantly steel and iron, so these components still need to meet current Buy America requirements.   

 

Deployment of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding 

Passed in early 2022, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law established a Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program allocating up to $2.5 billion in competitive grants to cities, states, and towns to build out EV charging infrastructure in their communities. 

This funding is scheduled for deployment through 2026. The recent announcement indicates that states and municipalities will soon be able to apply for the first $700 million allocated in FY 2022 and FY 2023 budgets. 

 

Bipartisan Infrastucture Law (BIL)
2022 2023 2034 2025 2026
$300M $400M $500M $600M $700M
$2.5 billion in grant funding has been allocated for EV charging infrastructure. Image used courtesy of the U.S. Department of Transportation

 

Private Industry Helps Reach EV Charging Goals

As part of the recent announcements, the U.S. government partnered with leading private companies like Tesla, Hertz, and General Motors to help reach its EV charging infrastructure goals. 

Tesla has agreed to make at least 7,500 of its chargers available to all EVs, including non-Tesla brands, by 2024.  The open chargers will be available across the U.S., including at least 3,500 new and existing 250 kW superchargers along U.S. highway corridors.

Hertz and BP (British Petroleum) plan to build a network of fast charging stations for Hertz rental locations across the U.S., including Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, and several other metro areas. BP intends to invest up to $1 billion in EV charging infrastructure in the U.S. by 2030, while Hertz aims to make at least one-quarter of its rental fleet electric by 2024.

 

EV charging for Hertz rental fleet. Image used courtesy of BP