2-minute explainer: What is the NEVI Formula Program?
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The NEVI Formula Program represents an important inflection point for investment in EV charging infrastructure in the US. Find out more about how NEVI came to be and what the funds can be used for.
Origins of the NEVI Formula Program
The NEVI Formula Program was established by both the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) as a way to invigorate US EV charging infrastructure and the mass adoption of EVs across the country. More concretely, the funding was aimed at providing a pathway to a nationwide network of 500,000 EV chargers by 2030 and would cover up to 80% of eligible EV charging infrastructure project costs.
NEVI, which stands for National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure, was a program created through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that set aside $5 billion for US states and private companies to build out EV charging infrastructure. The law (which passed as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) also set aside an additional discretionary grant of 2.5 billion.
In addition to setting aside funding for EV charging infrastructure projects, the NEVI Formula Program also comes with a set of minimum standards which projects have to adhere to in order to receive the funding. If you’re interested in reading about the NEVI minimum standards, check out eDRV’s comprehensive guide on the topic.
What can NEVI funds be used for?
The NEVI Formula Program was designed to improve US EV charging infrastructure. To that end, funds received under the program are to be used to improve reliability, access to charging stations and facilitate data collection. We’ll look into each of these in turn.
Reliability of EV Charging Infrastructure
This principle should be an easy one to make sense of. America’s EV charging infrastructure remains poor in catering to the growing number of EVs on the road. At its worst, nearly 2 in 5 charging sessions were unsuccessful in the US in 2022.
Fortunately, the NEVI funding can also be used to facilitate the operating and maintaining of EV charging infrastructure acquired or installed under the program for up to 5 years.
To address the issue of reliability, the NEVI Formula Program also introduced a range of rules that would set minimum technical and customer-facing standards that would improve the quality of charging sessions across the country. For a full list of the requirements for EV charging infrastructure, make sure to check out our NEVI guide.
It’s one thing to have EV charging stations in place but quite another to ensure everyone can use them. If the NEVI Formula Program is successful, fairness and wider access in EV charging could now be within reach in the US. Initially much of the NEVI formula funding will address charging stations along Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs), which are designated by the FHWA, although this will expand to other areas once the infrastructure has been adequately built.
A key pillar of access in EV Charging is the interoperability of EV charging infrastructure. Also referred to as EV roaming, interoperability allows a more diverse variety of EV drivers the opportunity to charge at networks that may have previously been exclusive. In short, our charging stations shouldn’t judge what cars we drive. For this to happen, charging stations applying to receive NEVI funding need to be publicly available or available to authorized commercial motor vehicle operators from more than one company.
The principle of adequate access also requires that EV charging stations can be used by those with disabilities and EV drivers who don't have English as a first language.
Adequate access also applies to requiring open access payment methods and transparency of pricing information. After all, having well-informed customers will encourage more drivers to turn to EVs and utilize charging infrastructure more.
Facilitating Data Collection
As the EV charging infrastructure in the US expands in its coverage, it will be crucial to understand the needs of US EV drivers and how best to cater to them. It will also be important to collect information about charging sessions on scale to adequately assess where EV charging is needed and whether current infrastructure is adequate or not.
This is why the NEVI Formula Program also included the facilitation of data collection as one of the uses for the funding. With better data, networks can be easily found, be transparent in their pricing and also allow for greater interoperability between networks.
Where can I learn more about the NEVI Formula Program?
This post explores the limits of the Open Charge Point Interface (OCPI) and the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) for building smart charging applications in electric vehicle (EV) fleets. Hint: OCPP is the option to go for!