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Three recent steps toward an EV infrastructure

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Written by: Alexa Stone

The one million Electric Vehicles (EVs) on U.S. streets and highways aren’t causing traffic jams. They travel quietly while 275 million petrol-powered vehicles roar past, spewing CO2 into the atmosphere.[1] Fossil-fueled vehicles outnumber EVs,  275:1. That will soon change. An estimated 26.4 million EVs will be on the road by 2030.[2] Streets will be quieter, and Greenhouse Gas (GhG) emissions will be substantially reduced.

Transitioning to zero-carbon may ease global warming concerns, but it causes a new concern: range anxiety. Available fuel for driving distance — whether for a delivery truck or a family vacation — is essential. Today’s battery-powered automobiles travel between 200 and 300 miles per charge.[3] Delivery trucks and fleet vans require recharging even sooner. In a recent test, the range of an electric truck hauling a 6,000-pound payload was 150 miles.[4]

The U.S. now has about 140,000 public EV chargers.[5] One million more will be required by 2030. An additional 28 million private EV chargers will be required at homes, businesses, and fleet maintenance facilities. Direct current fast chargers will be essential for commercial operations or long commutes. Those will charge an EV from empty to 80% in 20-60 minutes. Today, only 12% of America’s EV charging stations have them.[6]

Looking ahead, we are encouraged when we read that 37 companies are making EVs.[7] Still, setting aside any rose-colored glasses, we want to know what is being done to provide an EV infrastructure. We first ask the entity that once built interstate highways and air traffic control centers and sent astronauts to the moon. What steps has the federal government taken to keep tomorrow’s traffic moving?

BUDGET ALLOCATION

The Infrastructure and Jobs Act
November 2021

Individuals and organizations have received federal EV purchase subsidies and tax rebates since 2008. Thirteen years later, Congress has determined that the facilities for fueling those EVs from sea to shining sea will receive federal support.

An allocation of $7.5 billion within the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) to create a national charging network for EVs. Proponents of the legislation have described the allocation as interim progress toward building a nationwide network of 500,000 EV chargers.

Interstate commerce and tourists will not be stranded when leaving federal highways! The IIJA also allocates $2.5 billion to support local charging infrastructure investments. That discretionary grant aims to increase EV charging access in rural and underserved communities.[8]

U.S. Senate

The IIJA passed 69–30 by the Senate and 228–206 by the House of Representatives.

COMMITMENT TO CHANGE

Executive Orders
August 2021 and December 2021

An executive order issued in August 2021 sets this goal: Fifty percent of all new passenger cars and light trucks sold in 2030 will be zero-emission vehicles. That percentage includes battery-electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel-cell electric vehicles.[9]

A commitment issued one month later, Executive Order 14057, specifies that by 2035, all vehicles purchased by the federal government will be zero-emission. The order applies to the replacement of an estimated 380,000 federal vehicles.[10]

USPS EV Van

The U.S. Postal Service, an independent agency, has announced that at least half of the 50,000 vehicles budgeted for purchase will be battery electrics.

INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT FUNDING

National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program
February 2022

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides $5 billion of EV infrastructure funding to states through its NEVI program. The NEVI program uses funds from 2021 IIJA legislation, following guidance from recent executive orders.

States can receive up to 80% of EV charging station purchase, installation, and network connection costs. Other eligible costs include charging station operation and maintenance, plus collecting and sharing networked data.[11]

NEVI should bring at least 500,000 charging stations online by 2030. Priority will be given to funding projects along Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFC) that the FHWA has identified as having adequate public access to EV charging or low-emission fuels.[12]

Alternative Fuel Corridor map

An interactive online map[13] from the Federal Highway Administration shows which highways have alternative fueling and charging nearby.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has prequalified ecoPreserve — a woman-owned small business — to support EV infrastructure planning and policy development across Florida. We are pleased to be a subcontractor on FDOT’s multi-year EV consulting contract!

Among the recent EV and Transportation services ecoPreserve has provided, a team prepared feasibility studies for fleet electrification at the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) and assisted in planning the charging infrastructure.

ecoPreserve consultants also documented a Fleet Electrification Study for First Key Homes and participated in a similar study for the City of Waco, Texas.

SOURCES:

[1] FinancesOnline.com
[2] EEI.org — Edison Electic Institute
[3] GreenMatters.com
[4] Forbes.com
[5] VisualCapitalist.com
[6] Electrek.co
[7] BuildIn.com
[8] DOT.gov — U.S. Department of Transportation
[9] WhiteHouse.gov — Executive Order from 8/5/2021
[10] WhiteHouse.gov — Executive Order 14057
[11] Route-Fifty.com
[12] Energy.gov — Affordable Fuels Data Center (U.S. Department of Energy)
[13] FHWA.gov — Online interactive map (Federal Highway Administration)

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