EV Roundup - September 2023

Foley Hoag LLP - Energy & Climate Counsel

Foley Hoag LLP - Energy & Climate Counsel

The past 6 months have seen a flood of activity in the EV charging space. Since our last update, states have started implementing their electric vehicle deployment plans under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s (“BIL’s”) NEVI Program. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved deployment plans for all 50 states last year and issued final technical standards for NEVI-funded EV chargers at the beginning of 2023. Now, state efforts are underway to procure EV chargers and charging services in accordance with their deployment plans and FHWA technical standards.

Looking ahead, state procurement design will be critical for ensuring that federal NEVI funds are allocated to charging efforts that will most efficiently enable the interconnection and build-out of DCFCs. Lining up the roll-out of federal, state, and utility incentives with efforts to remove barriers to interconnecting and permitting DCFCs will also be necessary to avoid over-spending on the electrification of the transportation sector. Finally, there are real opportunities to leverage federal funding to achieve states’ emission-reduction and renewable energy goals, from co-locating solar and/or battery storage with EV charging stations, to designing charging hubs that incorporate e-mobility options such as e-bikes and scooters. With all these opportunities on the table, the private sector must now lead the charge.

U.S. Government Policy News

  • Following approval of states’, D.C.’s, and Puerto Rico’s NEVI deployment plans last fall, the U.S. Department of Transportation opened the application process to unlock the first $700 million of the $2.5 billion available under the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program to fund the build-out of EV charging infrastructure in communities and neighborhoods across the country.
  • The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation (Joint Office) released its NEVI Program Annual Report for 2022-2023. Appendix B of the report provides the Annual NEVI Program Apportionment Schedule by State.
  • The Joint Office also released a guide for planning and funding EV infrastructure in urban locations, referred to as the “Urban Electric Mobility Toolkit”. The toolkit includes information on partnership opportunities with key stakeholders and funding and financing resources to reduce the cost of implementing EV infrastructure. This toolkit compliments a previously issued toolkit for rural locations.

State Policy News

  • Hawaii was the first state to receive NEVI funding to build out their direct current fast charger (DCFC) network. Other states are following close behind, with Ohio, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Colorado, and Washington D.C. on track to execute contracts and begin construction in the near term. Other states are in varying stages of their procurements.
  • This past year, Massachusetts created the Intergovernmental Coordinating Council to focus on EV deployment. The Intergovernmental Coordinating Council is tasked with developing and implementing an EV charging station deployment plan. The Council must update the plan biannually.
  • In July 2023, New York announced $29 million for Level 2 EV charging infrastructure under New York’s Charge Ready NY 2.0 Program and $14 million in additional consumer rebates through the Drive Clean Rebate Program.
  • California set the bar for EV deployment goals. By 2035, California will require that all cars and light-duty trucks sold within the state be EVs. At least 17 other states have pledged to enact California’s rules, including Rhode Island, Washington, Virginia, Vermont, Oregon, New York, and Massachusetts who have or are adopting similar guidelines to phase out the sale of fossil-fueled vehicles.

Industry News

  • Over June and July 2023, numerous major global automakers and national charging providers committed to efforts to advance the deployment of a national electric vehicle charging network. Chargers in the network will use both the Combined Charging System (CCS) standard backed by the Biden Administration and the North American Charging Standard (NACS) backed by Tesla. The following automakers and charging providers are among those that have signed-on to use the Tesla standard:
    • Ford
      • Starting in early 2024, Ford EV drivers will be able to charge at more than 12,000 Tesla Superchargers across the U.S. and Canada, in addition to the over 10,000 DCFCs that are already part of Ford’s BlueOval Charge Network.
      • Beginning in 2025, Ford will offer next-generation EVs equipped with a built-in NACS connector.
    • General Motors (GM)
      • Starting in 2025, General Motors will rely exclusively on Tesla’s charging port in the U.S. and Canada. GM plans to provide adapters so that all cars equipped with the NACS can also charge at CCS stations.
      • GM will also add more than 5,000 DCFCs to its charging network.
    • Mercedes-Benz
      • The company is the first German OEM to commit to implementing the NACS charging port into its new EVs, starting in 2025.
      • Mercedes-Benz plans to establish its own high-power charging network that will open in the U.S. by the end of 2023. The chargers will be equipped with both CCS and NACS plugs.
    • Nissan
      • In 2025, Nissan EVs will come equipped with NACS ports. To charge at a non-Tesla charger, Nissan drivers will need a CCS adapter.
      • Nissan will display available Tesla chargers in their mobile apps and in the in-vehicle navigation systems.
    • Blink Charging
      • Blink Charging will adopt the NACS technology across its full range of EV charging stations, starting in 2023.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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