As we highlighted in our December 29, 2021 and January 19, 2021 posts, on November 15, 2021, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) was passed, enacted as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) (Pub. L. 117-58), which included the authorization of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program. After collecting public comment, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released its guidance for the NEVI Formula Program on February 10, 2022, representing yet another stake in the ground from the federal government for the development of a national EV charging network and giving both public and private stakeholders a sense of the emerging framework for accessing these catalyzing infrastructure dollars.
Under the NEVI Formula Program in the IIJA, a total of $7.5 billion has been allocated to developing and constructing a national network of 500,000 EV charging stations by 2030. The first $5 billion of the $7.5 billion has been dedicated to funding state programs over the next five years, and each state will be required to submit an EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan (EV Plan) no later than August 1, 2022 to the Joint Office Of Energy and Transportation (the “Joint Office”) describing the state’s intended use of such funds. Thereafter, the Federal Highway Administration will approve eligible plans on a rolling basis by September 30, 2022. In addition, ten percent of the $5 billion will be set aside to provide discretionary grants to fill gaps in the national network. The remaining $2.5 billion will be allocated for a discretionary grant program targeted at bringing EV charging infrastructure to rural and underserved communities. Guidance for this discretionary funding will be released separately by the U.S. DOT later this year.
EV Plans must comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and a recommended template will be available from the Joint Office. In preparing an EV Plan, as described in the NEVI Formula Program Guidance, states should generally adhere to the following framework:
Funding that states receive from the EV Plan must first be directed to designated national electric vehicle charging and hydrogen, propane, and natural gas fueling corridors, as further described in 23 U.S.C. §151(a)-(e), and, once a state has built out its corridors, as certified by the Federal Highway Administration, states may use remaining allocated funds to develop EV infrastructure on any public road or in other publicly accessible locations. Corridors are considered fully built out if: (i) EV charging infrastructure is installed every 50 miles along the designated corridors; (ii) the charging stations are capable of simultaneously charging four EVs; (iii) the charging stations have a capacity at or above 600kW total or at least 150kW per port; and (iv) the corridor meets any additional considerations required by the Secretary of Transportation. However, the Secretary will not certify that any corridor has been fully built out during the first year of the NEVI Formula Program.
Given the timelines for states to submit their EV Plans, funding from the NEVI Formula Program may not materialize until late 2022, though the Guidance does leave open the possibility that some states may act faster and get their EV Plans approved ahead of the Q3 deadlines.
On February 22, 2022, the Department of Transportation and representatives from the Joint Office and others led an “Infrastructure School” discussion of the NEVI Formula and other EV funding opportunities that exist at the Federal level, moderated by Stephanie Sykes, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, White House Infrastructure Implementation Team. The speakers noted that a total of $18.6 billion will be made available from the Federal EV funding programs, including $5B through the NEVI program, an additional $2.5B for corridor and community charging through Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Grants (part of the IIJA), $5.6B in Low or No Emission (Bus) Grants, $250M through the Electric or Low-Emitting Ferry Program, $26M through the Low or No Emission Vehicle Component Assessment Program, $200M for Electric Drive Vehicle Battery Recycling and 2nd Life Apps, and $5B through the Clean School Bus Program.
Andrew Wishnia, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Climate Policy at the DOT, called these programs a “once in a generation opportunity to build out an EV charging network” that is safe, convenient, reliable, and accessible. The programs will be administered by some combination of the DOT, the DOE, and the EPA. Further details on all of these programs are available in the BIL Guidebook. Additional training sessions will be held by the Joint Office on some of these programs.
The Foley team will continue to monitor these developments as we remain ready to help clients navigate this new EV and related infrastructure landscape.