Congress recently passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which includes $7.5 billion in dedicated funding to help make public EV charging stations accessible to all Americans. Although more and more people are buying EVs, there is still apprehension around battery longevity and charging availability. As more people consider or make the switch to EVs, quickly transitioning to an electric driving future will require expanding the charging network, as well as boosting American confidence in the EVs themselves. The $7.5 billion is divided into two buckets: a $5 billion formula program and a $2.5 billion discretionary grant program. The $5 billion National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program will fund States’ strategic deployment of charging infrastructure and the backbone of the first-ever national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers along America’s highways.
Along with the staggering amount of greenhouse-gas emissions produced by cars and trucks, worries over public health and soaring gas prices make the idea of a car powered by electricity even more appealing. Though climate change and pollution impact us all, disadvantaged communities suffer first and worst. To address these disparities, the remaining $2.5 billion included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) will be split into two grant programs that support the Biden Administration’s Justice40 initiative. The Justice40 initiative aims to deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities. These two EV charger deployment programs will focus on supporting rural charging, building resilient infrastructure, and increasing EV charging access in underserved and overburdened communities. This includes significant engagement with these communities to ensure that their views are incorporated into plans and to ensure equitable distribution of benefits and services.
Electrifying the transportation sector is a crucial part of the US’s plans to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide Americans with a reliable, cost-effective source of transportation. Each State Department of Transportation (DOT) is required to submit an EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan which describes how the State intends to use its apportioned NEVI Formula Program funds. In order to build out the national network, funding will initially be directed to designated Alternative Fuel Corridors for EVs, particularly along the Interstate Highway System. When the national charging network is complete, funding may be used on any public road or in other publicly accessible locations. Once approved by the Federal Highway Administration (FWHA) in late September, States can begin rolling out their plans and implementing charging stations along interstates within their borders.
All projects funded by the NEVI Formula Program must meet minimum requirements. The goal of the minimum requirements is to make charging as easy as filling up at a gas station. A fully built-out network would feature a charging station within 1 mile of the Interstate Highway System, every 50 miles. This alternative fuel corridor will alleviate range anxiety and vehicle charging deserts, making it possible for every American to travel from one coast to the other in an EV. The proposed rule would ensure that the charging network is unified and interoperable. That means charging will be accessible no matter what kind of car a user drives, where they are in the country, or what type of charger they plug into; pricing, charging speeds, and means of payment will all be standardized.
Electrifying the transportation sector is a crucial part of the US’s plans to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide Americans with a reliable, cost-effective source of transportation. Plug In America is hard at work to support states in effectively utilizing this historic funding provided by the NEVI Formula Program to create a national network of EV chargers. As the voice of EV drivers across the country, we want to ensure that this network provides convenient, affordable, reliable, and accessible charging for all Americans.
Photo Credit: Andrew Moseman