The Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration has issued final standards for the installation, operation, and maintenance of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations paid for with federal funds pursuant to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and other federal authorities. The standards, which go into effect on March 30, 2023, regulate the types of chargers that may be installed, as well as payment processing, labor, cybersecurity, and data privacy practices for EV charging infrastructure on federal highways.
The IIJA established the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program to provide $5 billion in funding to states, local governments, transportation authorities, and tribes for the acquisition and installation of EV charging infrastructure. The IIJA allows recipients of NEVI Formula Program funds to partner with private entities to operate the EV charging infrastructure, but the new rule limits how income from EV charging stations can be used.
Although the purpose of the NEVI Formula Program is to support the build out of interconnected EV charging infrastructure along federal highways that have been designated as Alternative Fuel Corridors, the standards apply to all projects that install EV charging infrastructure using Title 23 federal funds. The IIJA directed the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy and stakeholders, to issue minimum guidelines and standards concerning the installation, operation, or maintenance by qualified technicians of electric vehicle charging infrastructure; the interoperability of electric vehicle charging infrastructure; network connectivity of electric vehicle charging infrastructure; and publicly available information about locations, pricing, real-time availability, and accessibility through mapping applications.
- The final rule requires transparency around the procurement process, including the number of bids received, identification of the awardee, financial summary of the contract terms (in accordance with applicable state public record laws);
- Any time a charging station is installed pursuant to the IIJA, the charging station must have a minimum of four charging ports (either a Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) or alternating current (AC) Level 2 port or combination) but any installed DCFC ports must be able to accommodate a Combined Charging System (CCS) Type 1 connector.
- The rule establishes the supply and output power level for each type of charging port, as well as technical interoperability, data protection, and security standards that apply to charger hardware and from the charger to the network, and the charging network to the grid.
- Each charging station located along an Alternative Fuel Corridor must be available to users 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Charging stations must provide a contactless payment method that accepts major debit and credit cards and allows payment through text message or by an automated toll-free number.
- Information about the location, pricing, real-time availability, and accessibility of EV charging infrastructure must be made available to third-party software developers free of charge.
- Prices for using the equipment to charge an EV must be displayed in real time, and other fees in addition to the price for electricity must be clearly displayed and explained.
- Use of revenue or income from an EV charging station is limited to debt service; reasonable return on investment of any private person financing the EV charging station project, as determined by the recipient of federal funding; and costs necessary for the improvement and operation of the EV charging station, among other uses.
- The EV charging infrastructure may be installed and maintained only by employees with the appropriate licenses, training, and certifications. In addition, all electricians involved in the installation, operation, or maintenance of the EV charging infrastructure are required to have a certification from the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP) or graduation or a continuing education certificate from a registered apprenticeship program.
- In addition to the Buy America requirements under 23 U.S.C. § 313 for federally funded highway projects, the IIJA also established Build America, Buy America requirements for projects funded under the IIJA. The Federal Highway Administration published a temporary public interest waiver of Buy America requirements for steel, iron, and manufactured products and Build America, Buy America (BABA) requirements for construction materials for EV charging projects. The waiver applies to EV chargers and all components of EV chargers that are manufactured from March 23, 2023 to July 1, 2024, and for which installation has begun by October 1, 2024. After July 1, 2024, this waiver will not apply to EV chargers for which the cost of components manufactured in the United States does not exceed 55 percent of the cost of all components. The waiver will remain in place until terminated by the Federal Highway Administration.
- Other federal requirements including the Americans with Disability Act, David-Bacon wage requirements, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act also apply to the EV charger projects.
The Federal Highway Administration announced the availability of NEVI Formula Program funds beginning in April 2022 in support of the Biden Administration’s goal of having 500,000 new EV charging systems installed by 2030.
Crowell will continue to monitor and provide updates on the implementation of the IIJA’s funding programs and regulations impacting EVs and related charging infrastructure.