Proposed Federal Rule To Align Specifications for Federally-Funded EV Charging
In February 2022 the Department of Transportation – Federal Highway Administration (“FHWA”) issued Program Guidance on the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (“NEVI”) Formula Program for state investments in electric vehicle (“EV”) charging infrastructure available under the $5 billion allotment provided through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“IIJA”). On June 22, the FHWA issued a related Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to establish minimum standards and requirements for projects funded under the NEVI Formula Program, as well as the construction of publicly accessible EV chargers funded under Title 23 of the United States Code.
The proposed rule is meant to enable states to implement federally-funded EV charging station projects in a standardized fashion across a national EV charging network that can be utilized by all EVs regardless of vehicle brand. Specifically, as required by the IIJA, the rule would address the following: (1) the installation, operation, or maintenance by qualified technicians of EV charging infrastructure; (2) the interoperability of EV charging infrastructure; (3) traffic control devices and on-premise signs acquired, installed, or operated; (4) data requested related to a project funded under the NEVI Formula Program, including the format and schedule for the submission of such data; (5) network connectivity of EV charging infrastructure; and (6) information on publicly available EV charging infrastructure locations, pricing, real-time availability, and accessibility through mapping applications.
Regarding the first issue generally, the proposed rule would require, among other things, procurement process transparency, that charging stations have at least four charging network-connected Direct Current Fast Charger (“DCFC”) ports and be capable of simultaneously charging at least four EVs, have a permanently attached Combined Charging System (“CCS”) Type 1 connector for any CCScompliant vehicle, maintain DCFC ports at or above 150 kilowatts (“kW”) and AC Level 2 charging ports at or above 6 kW, be accessible seven days a week and 24 hours a day, utilize nonmembership contactless payment methods, and obtain relevant certifications and handle customer data appropriately. The rule would also set out how net income from the NEVI Formula Program-funded project must be utilized (e.g. debt service, a reasonable return on investment, charging station operation, maintenance, and improvement, etc.).
Charging stations must also be able to connect with energy providers and a broader charging station network for monitoring and updating purposes, among others. In addition, charging stations must display real-time electricity prices, maintain a 97% “uptime” in which they can be used, and certain data must be freely available to third-party software developers. The rule would also require EV charging stations to conform to vehicle to grid communication specifications (i.e. ISO 15118) to communicate with CCS-compliant vehicles that have implemented ISO 15118, and that states ensure certain charging station use, cost, reliability, maintenance, and community engagement data and information are collected, maintained, and submitted to the FHWA on a quarterly basis. Additional federal requirements, including those of the Buy American requirements of the Build America, Buy America Act, also apply.