U.S. Department of Transportation Plans for a National EV Charging Infrastructure
Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) that is meant to sketch out minimum standards for a nationally-funded electric vehicle (EV) charging network that is meant to ensure a consistent customer experience and set the stage for greater EV adoption, through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Among other things the proposal discussed in the document (Docket No. FHWA-2022-0008, RIN 2125-AG10), titled “National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program,” would be requiring standard plugs, American-made EV chargers, minimum uptimes, data-sharing provisions, and the ability for DC fast charging stations to simultaneously charge at least four vehicles at a minimum power of 150 kW.
Currently, according to the NOPR, there are no national standards for the installation, operation, or maintenance of EV charging stations, and wide disparities exists among EV charging stations in key components, such as operational practices, payment methods, site organization, display of price to charge, speed and power of chargers, and information communicated about the availability and functioning of each charging station.
DOT’s NOPR noted that, “The FHWA proposes to establish regulations that would set minimum standards and requirements for projects funded under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program and projects for the construction of publicly accessible EV chargers funded under Title 23, United States Code 1.”
As outlined in the statute, the purpose of the NEVI Formula Program is to “provide funding to States to strategically deploy EV charging infrastructure and to establish an interconnected network to facilitate data collection, access, and reliability.” This purpose would be satisfied by creating a convenient, affordable, reliable, and equitable network of chargers throughout the nation.
“Such standards would provide consumers with reliable expectations for travel in an electric vehicle across and throughout the United States and support a national workforce skilled and trained in EVSE [Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment] installation and maintenance,” said the NOPR.
The NOPR further noted that the FHWA is being directed by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to ensure that minimum standards and requirements will be developed related to six areas:
1 – Installation, operation, and maintenance by qualified technicians of EV infrastructure.
2 – 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.
6 – Information on publicly-available EV charging infrastructure locations, pricing, real-time availability, and accessibility through mapping applications.
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