In November 2021, the United States Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Signed into law by President Joe Biden on November 15, this once-in-a-generation type of deal seeks to direct investment funds toward the nation’s critical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, railroads, access to clean drinking water, access to high- speed internet, and initiatives to tackle the climate crisis.
As part of the plan, significant funding would be earmarked to support the adoption of electric vehicles along with the important types of materials and infrastructure required for a nationwide shift to be successful.
In alignment with President Biden’s ambitions for federal operations to have net-zero emissions by 2050, including a 65 percent emissions reduction by 2030, the United States government will also look shift its fleet of 600,00 cars and trucks to be powered by carbon pollution -free electricity.
As the government of the United States makes the shift toward clean power a major priority, it is a good time for investors to get up to speed with the rollout out plan, and to grasp the impact that the focus on electric vehicle infrastructure will have over the bid to come.
- The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act sets a priority for critical infrastructure revitalization, including sustainable transportation.
- The Joint Office between the Department of Energy and the Department of Transportation will oversee the support of a nationwide network of electric-vehicle chargers.
- State departments of transportation are working on plans to spend funds earmarked for EV infrastructure.
- The end of summer 2022 will mark a key moment in the shift toward electric-powered transportation in the United States.
Electric Vehicle Charging Action Plan
On December 13, 2021, The Biden-Harris Electric Vehicle Charging Action Plan was announced. The announcement outlined the steps that federal agencies would be taking to support developing chargers and deploying charging stations in communities across the country. As part of the plan, the Department of Energy and the Department of Transportation would seek to establish a Joint Office of Energy and Transportation to focus on deploying infrastructure for electric vehicles.
On December 14, US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg signed a Memorandum of understanding to create the Joint Office, which would oversee the deployment of $7.5 billion over five fiscal years (2022-2026) to build a national electric vehicle charging network of 500,000 chargers. The joint office is also tasked with working closely with stakeholders to collect input and guidance to ensure that the charging solutions are convenient for all Americans, and to focus on filling gaps in rural, disadvantaged, and hard-to-reach locations. The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation website offers webinars, the latest news, and state guidance.
Solicitation for Alternative Fuel Corridors
The department of Transportation working on the 6th round of alternative fuel corridors designations. This program, created under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST) in 2015 recognizes highway segments that have infrastructure plans to allow travel on alternative fuels, including electricity. Nominations for Alternative Fuel Corridor designation is a critical step in the design process and is of great importance because it is currently connected to the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program funding, which is discussed below. The deadline for the 6th round of solicitation is at the close of business on May 13, 2022.
National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program (NEVI)
On February 10, 2022, The US Department of Transportation released its background information, funding eligibilities, and program guidance relating to the implementation of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program (NEVI). This program is the mechanism for how the Federal government will strategically deploy the funds to support the creation of a national network of 500,000 chargers by 2030. Under the program, state departments of transportation will be required to submit an EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan that describes how the State intends to use program’s funds in accordance with its guidance. Plans will need to be submitted no later than August 1, 2022 with approval of eligible plans by September 30, 2022. While some people disagree with the cost, $5 billion of the allotted $7.5 billion will be distributed under the NEVI program and the funds are to be directed to designated Alternative Fuel Corridors. Ten percent of the NEVI Formula Program funds will be set aside each fiscal year for the Secretary of Transportation to provide discretionary grants to help fill gaps in the national network.
Discretionary Grant Program for Charging and Fueling Infrastructure
The $2.5 billion discretionary grant program is divided into two distinct $1.25 billion grant programs to ensure charger deployment meets the Biden-Harris Administration priorities such as ssupporting rural change, building resilient infrastructure, and increasing access to EV chargers in underserved communities, to name a few .
From early on the Biden-Harris administration it has been clear that some of the main equity priorities would be set around racial, serving underserved communities, and tackling climate change. While many issues overlap, the administration launched the Justice40 initiative, which aims to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of federal investments in climate, and clean energy, including sustainable transportation, to disadvantaged communities.
Domestic Manufacturing and Jobs
The plan to install electric charging stations in every corner of the country and to create a domestic supply chain, seeks to position America as a leader in electric vehicles, and to create good-paying union jobs. Companies will be needed to manufacture key components, conduct installations and maintenance. Workers will be needed to fill the types of jobs that did not exist only a few short years ago. When viewed from a nationwide perspective, the goal is that the combined efforts will be a strong step toward a more energy-efficient future.
State departments of transportation are working to identify their plans on how to best put NEVI funds to work by August 1, 2022. The solicitation of new Alternative Fuel Corridors is underway and will be complete by May 13, 2022. As details are finalized over the Coming months it looks as though the end of summer 2022 will mark a key time in the shift toward electric-powered transportation.
The Bottom Line
With the outline of an aggressive plan to revitalize American Infrastructure in 2021, to the release of the action plan to create a nationwide network of 500,000 electric-vehicle chargers, the United States is on the path to a greener future.