On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which included a significant block of National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) funding to support nationwide deployment of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and related infrastructure. This week the California Energy Commission (CEC) and Department of Transportation (Caltrans) issued California’s Deployment Plan for the NEVI Program. The NEVI Plan is based on federal guidelines issued in February 2022, and incorporates input from meetings with stakeholders and other governmental and regulatory agencies that led to issuance of a draft plan in June 2022. To briefly summarize, the California NEVI Plan addresses:
California plans to use the estimated $134 million in formula funding for the first two years to “primarily provide connectivity for passenger vehicles throughout the state, complementary to state investments,” while looking for opportunities to also serve medium and heavy duty EVs. Implementation will focus on ensuring ZEV infrastructure will meet the needs of the growing ZEV market, accelerating deployment, and ensuring equitable outcomes.
Building on the CEC’s existing solicitation programs, CEC and Caltrans will jointly develop a competitive grant-funding opportunity (GFO) to seek applications for funding to install direct current fast chargers (DCFCs) along California’s Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs). Applicants will be invited to submit proposals for segments based on an analysis of gaps in the network, future charger needs, and geography. Applicants may propose upgrading existing charging stations or building new ones, and sites may include capacity for expansion to meet future needs. Awardees will be required to meet standards and program requirements.
- Existing and Future Conditions Analysis
NEVI plan deployment will take into account the state’s extreme diversity in terrain, climate and land use patterns. It will also reflect analysis of travel patterns, public transportation needs, freight and other supply chain needs. A total of 17 California AFCs received Corridor-Pending EV Alternative Fuel Corridor designations in the 2022 Round 6 Request for Nominations. NEVI planning will reflect progress in corridor designations.
- Known Risks and Challenges
The NEVI plan acknowledges risks and challenges, including: 1) Need for adequate funding to support private investment in advance of widespread utilization; 2) Economic conditions affecting utilization and investment climate; 3) Need to expand public awareness, site host recruitment; 4) Delay due to supply chain disruption, permitting, utility interconnection and workforce deficiencies; 5) Need for standards to ensure reliability of charging infrastructure.
There is an expectation that successful applicants for NEVI funding will provide at least 20 percent cost-share from private funding and/or stacked incentives from utility or local government programs. If necessary to meet NEVI spacing requirements, the state will consider, in limited cases, providing cost-share from state funding.
- 2022 Infrastructure Deployments/Upgrades
California will divide the AFCs into segments based on an analysis of gaps in the current network, future charger needs, and geography. Gap analysis will begin with review of existing infrastructure, and state will establish a criterion for determining number of ports and power level needed at sites. (NEVI Formula Program standards require that public DCFCs are located less than 1 mile from an electric corridor exit, have a minimum of four CCS ports with a maximum power per port of at least 150kW, and site power capacity of no less than 600 kW.As of February 2022, California had a total of 113 stations (592 DCFCs) that meet NEVI criteria.)
Criteria under consideration for prioritization of corridors include: corridor type (NEVI prioritizes interstate highway system), equity, traffic and/or projected demand for corridor charging, existing and planned DCFC efforts, and permit streamlining.
Other considerations will include opportunities for replacing or expanding charging at existing AFC sites, alignment with freight corridors, and supporting public transportation, particularly in rural areas.
To expedite projects, California may give funding priority to jurisdictions that are fully streamlined or have started the EV infrastructure permit streamlining process per Assembly Bills 1236 and 970.
California will incorporate proposed NEVI standards, including minimum uptime requirements, and require applicants to provide detailed operations and maintenance plans. It is expected that O&M costs would be eligible expenses for agreements with NEVI funds.
California will hold workshops and consult EV charger manufacturers and network providers while designing the GFO.
Data collection and reporting requirements will be incorporated into NEVI program agreements
California will look to technology advancements and innovation to provide power during extreme weather, emergency conditions.
California will consider incorporating existing labor and workforce training and safety requirements in NEVI implementation. NEVI implementation will incorporate all applicable (e.g. EVITP) requirements for workforce and safety.
Implementation will align with federal and state law, the California disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) program, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.At least 50 percent of NEVI funding will be used for projects within designated disadvantaged communities and/or low-income communities.
Next steps for California’s NEVI Deployment plan will include:
- Submittal of Deployment Plan to the Federal Highway Administration in August 2022, with approval anticipated in late September 2022
- Pre-Solicitation workshops and solicitation development in Q4 2022
- Continued engagement with stakeholders and communities, including tribal governments in Q4 2022
- Publication of the solicitation in Q4 2022 or Q1 2023
- Application scoring and review in Q1 2023
- Preparation of contractual agreements in Q2 2023
- Execution of contractual agreements and commencement of projects in Q2-Q3 2023
The California NEVI deployment plan will be updated each year to reflect progress, identify new challenges and opportunities, highlight future deployment plans and ensure alignment with state planning efforts.
Contact: Lynn Haug