Two DCFC chargers at Yorba Linda 76 gas station

New federal funding to help EV drivers overcome ‘range anxiety’

Last week, the Biden-Harris administration proposed new standards for the National Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure (NEVI) program, a “key piece” of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed in November of 2021. The NEVI Formula Program, which will provide $7.5 billion in funds for the construction of publicly available electric vehicle charging stations, will help flesh-out the currently limited publicly available EV charging network. It will also aid states in their efforts to evaluate and implement EV charging stations in the best possible locations. With a goal of 500,000 chargers lining the national highway system and creating a new “alternative fuel corridor” by 2030, the Biden administration’s standards, overseen by the Department of Transportation and the Department of Energy, are ambitious in their aim to “make charging electric vehicles (EVs) convenient, reliable, and affordable for all Americans.”

While the Biden administration’s stated goal for NEVI is to have publicly accessible charging stations located every 50 miles along major highways and within 1 mile of the highway exit, the feasibility of such an extensive network remains to be seen. With a focus on rural and underserved areas, the administration hopes that NEVI funding will “put us on a path to a nationwide network that ensures a convenient, reliable, affordable, and equitable charging experience for all users,” according to the Federal Highway Administration in April of 2022. If effective, the program will help combat range anxiety― the common fear of EV drivers that they won’t be able to locate a charging station when they need it on a long trip. Such anxiety is cited as one of the main barriers to new EV purchases, and particularly affects drivers in areas without extensive EV charging infrastructure. Due to the fragmented nature of currently existing charging infrastructure, investment in combatting this anxiety could be one of the main motivators for new purchasers to choose electric over gas-powered.

In addition to aiding states in creating plans for charging stations, the funds allotted in the infrastructure bill also “activated the purchasing power of the government to procure 100% zero-emission light-duty vehicles by 2027 and all vehicles by 2035,” which means that new government-used vehicles will soon be entirely electric if the goals of the plan are met. These vehicles will be just one of many fleets that may soon be electric― a standard which would curb emissions by leaps and bounds as medium and heavy-duty trucks make up 26% of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and light-duty vehicles make up a whopping 57% of GHG emissions in the U.S. transportation sector as of 2020. While consumer driving choices will certainly lower that 57% figure, transitioning large fleets (of any duty-size vehicles) will have the most impact on long-term emission reduction goals. With the government going all-in on EVs and companies like Amazon backing EV automakers like Rivian, commercial fleet electrification is the natural evolution from passenger fleet electrification.

So, what does this mean for companies like us? The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) “anticipates that in most instances States will contract with private entities for the installation, operation, and/or maintenance of EV charging infrastructure funded in whole or in part through the NEVI Formula Program.” This contracting is where Zero Impact Solutions is ready and willing to help take EV charging infrastructure to the next level both in California and nation-wide. There are also other considerations that companies must make in order to comply with the released guidance, which ZIS is already implementing. For instance, the minimum standards will also require that charging stations built by federal funds need to be accessible to all EV drivers, a marked break from the exclusive Tesla Superchargers that make up 58% of “all available fast-charging plugs in America” or “21% of all fast-charging stops in the country.” Zero Impact Solutions already offers Level 2 and Level 3 chargers that are compatible with all EV charging designs. With a variety of plugs to choose from, we’re already exceeding the new standards with ease.

With our comprehensive service, from planning all the way to installation and maintenance, Zero Impact Solutions is ready to help businesses and states alike make the transition to electric a seamless venture. With an experienced permitting and compliance team, we even take care of the paperwork to secure this state and federal funding for you! This is an exciting time to be a part of the EV ecosystem, and an even more riveting time to be in the EV charging business. As the NEVI program begins to launch in the following months, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for new charging stations off of your local highways. Maybe they’ll even be one of ZIS’s― if all goes according to plan!