NACS Backs Private-Sector Role in EV Charging

Comments submitted to federal highway agency on grants stress the importance of a competitive market.

January 31, 2022

EV Charging Parking Spots

WASHINGTON—In December, the Biden Administration released details of its plan to build out electric vehicle charging infrastructure using $7.5 billion in grant funds that were included in the bipartisan infrastructure law passed in November. Last Friday, NACS filed comments with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on its upcoming guidelines for this alternative fueling infrastructure.

The FHWA opened the comment period to solicit feedback on how it should administer the funds.

NACS’ comments stressed the hurdles that the private sector faces in deploying EV charging infrastructure and noted the language in the bipartisan infrastructure law that directs FHWA to administer the funds to help overcome these hurdles. NACS noted in the comments that:

  • Grant funds must flow through or should be used in conjunction with the private sector.
  • Grants should help foster a long-term competitive market.
  • Grants should not support projects paid for by utility customers because that infrastructure would be built even without federal funds.
  • Traditional fueling sites should be preferred grant recipients because the law specifies the importance of “onsite amenities for vehicle operators, such as restrooms or food facilities.”

“Our industry’s locations are highly visible, located in the places where consumers desire and are used to refuel their vehicles already, and they typically have large signs that can be seen by drivers showing the fuels they offer and the prices they charge for them. Everyone interested in greater adoption of EVs should want as many of those fuel price signs as possible to list electricity along with its price. When that transparency becomes common, range anxiety will no longer exist—and it is hard to see another path to ending range anxiety,” wrote NACS in the letter.

The comment period closed on January 28. FHWA will develop guidance based on its reading of the bipartisan infrastructure law and the comments it received. Most of the grant funds will flow from the federal government through states. NACS members should contact their state transportation departments if they are interested in accessing grant funds.