WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on proposed minimum standards and requirements for projects funded under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, which the Biden Administration announced in February.
“These minimum standards will help ensure our national EV charging network is user-friendly, reliable, and accessible to all Americans, and interoperable between different charging companies, with similar payment systems, pricing information, charging speeds, and more,” said the transportation department in a statement.
The DOT said the proposed requirements will help states as they develop their EV deployment plans in conjunction with the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, which was established by the bipartisan infrastructure law and is providing direct technical assistance and support to help states with the $5 billion NEVI program.
“To support the transition to electric vehicles, we must build a national charging network that makes finding a charge as easy as filling up at a gas station,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “These new ground rules will help create a network of EV chargers across the country that are convenient, affordable, reliable and accessible for all Americans.”
FHWA has also released additional resources to help states complete their EV charger deployment plans and access NEVI formula funding to build out the charging network. These resources include new NEVI formula program Q&A and a new online resource to help states, particularly rural states, evaluate the best locations for charging stations when it may not be possible to provide charging stations at the required 50-mile intervals.
“We’re tackling range anxiety and vehicle charging deserts by making sure that charging stations are easily and equally accessible, allowing every American to get coast to coast in an electric vehicle,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.
Charging stations would be required to contain a minimum number and type of chargers capable of supporting drivers’ fast charging needs. Additionally, FHWA proposed rules would require consistency regarding the installation, operation and maintenance of NEVI Formula Program projects to provide the traveling public with reliable expectations for their charging experience. The proposed rule would further specify the required minimum density of provided chargers, payment methods and requirements for customer support services.
The proposed rules will set strong certification standards for the workers installing, operating and maintaining electric vehicle chargers. Other proposed requirements would help create a seamless national network of EV charging infrastructure that could communicate and operate on the same software platforms from one state to another; address traffic control devices and on-premise signage; provide data submittal requirements to help create a public EV charging database; and provide network connectivity requirements to allow for secure remote monitoring, diagnostics, control and updates.
Additionally, the FHWA proposed requirements that would standardize communication to consumers of price and availability of each charging station to help consumers make informed decisions about trip planning and when and where to charge their EVs.
The Federal Advisory Committee Act Electric Vehicle Working Group has also formed to make recommendations regarding the development, adoption and integration of electric vehicles into America’s transportation and energy systems. The group was authorized under the bipartisan infrastructure law.
The proposed rule is expected to publish in the Federal Register next week. A final rule may be published after FHWA has had the opportunity to review the comments submitted.
NACS will be closely reviewing the document and will be submitting comments during the public comment period. Ensuring that the program and proposed standards encourages development of a competitive EV charging market as private sector investment and participation is a top priority. These standards need to facilitate a positive customer experience with lots of charging options and ease of use.