The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law authorized $5 Billion over the next 5 years for States to deploy 500,000 charging stations as part of an interconnected network charging EV infrastructure. The funding is for vehicle charging projects and for charging infrastructure open to the public. Also included are projects that support freight movement along major national highways and ports, intermodal centers, and warehousing locations that will become the backbone of a new national EV charging network. In June, Federal Highway Administration put out a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on proposed minimum standards and requirements for projects funded under the Program.
To access the project funding states had to submit an EV infrastructure deployment plan by August 1 describing how they intend to use their share of funds consistent with a typically voluminous 31-page guidance document from FHWA.
The private sector is jumping on the bandwagon too. In July GM announced a $750 million investment in electric-vehicle charging infrastructure to build 2000 DC fast-chargers at 500 Pilot and Flying J truck stops. The initiative will be powered by EVgo, which operates the most fast-charging locations in the U.S. The first phase of chargers should be operational by 2023, and they will be placed along highways with the goal of facilitating coast-to-coast travel in EVs.
What remains to be seen is how much emphasis states will put on addressing the needs of the trucking industry versus the motoring public. And while electric vehicles will serve an important role in trucking’s future, in their current form, they are not a panacea for trucking’s reliance on fossil fuels. Given this, coupled with the diversity of the industry and the pros and cons of the various fueling options, we hope the states’ plans will acknowledge this and work with the industry and the private sector to build solutions to include a full complement of fueling options. If not, there will be unintended consequences that can add a significant cost burden to an industry already burdened by many government mandates. We also hope that government keeps pace with the industry on this one, to help ensure the trucking industry has a seat at the table as private investments by the car manufacturers move ahead at a rapid pace.