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How Government Incentives Help Convenience Stores Install Electric Vehicle Chargers

Posted 02/15/2024

The United States Interstate Highway System is often referred to as the “greatest public works project in American history.” Now the US is undertaking another public works project that rivals the Interstate system: a nationwide electric vehicle (EV) charging network that stretches to every corner of the country and is able to support an anticipated 30–42 million EVs on the road by 2030. With the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program and Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program, the United States will soon be connected from coast to coast by EV chargers. Fortunately for businesses located in key areas of the country, the federal government has introduced incentives to help them install electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) and play a key role in building the national EV charging network. Here’s what you need to know about the new EV corridors and funding your convenience store’s EV charging project.

How Many Charging Stations Will America Install?

In its report, The 2030 National Charging Network: Estimating U.S. Light-Duty Demand for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that the USA will require 28 million charging ports to accommodate a “mid-adoption scenario” of 33 million EVs on the road by 2030. The majority of those charging ports will be at private homes and businesses where drivers can charge their vehicles overnight or during their work shifts, but those private ports will also need to be supported by public charging ports. NREL’s full breakdown is as follows:

  • 182,000 publicly accessible charging ports on direct current fast chargers (DCFCs) to facilitate long-distance travel and ride-hailing electrification, as well as to support drivers who cannot access residential charging.

  • 1 million publicly accessible Level 2 charging ports at locations that include high-density neighborhoods, office buildings, and retail outlets.

  • 26 million Level 1 and Level 2 charging ports at private locations like single-family homes, multifamily properties, and workplaces.

And this is where truck stops and roadside convenience stores come into play. Drivers are already used to stopping at these types of places to fuel their internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, so it only makes sense that EV drivers would also associate these types of businesses with refueling for their vehicles. To help c-stores and gas stations install EV charging stations, there are two major federal funding programs that can reduce project costs.

Government Incentives for Installing EVSE

The federal government has introduced various funding options for commercial properties that wish to install EVSE. A couple of federal funding programs that pertain to truck stops and roadside convenience stores are:

EV Charging Tax Credit

With the Section 30C Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit, also referred to as the EV charging tax credit, businesses can receive a tax credit that is worth up to 30% of installing each EV charger. Both Level 2 and Direct Current Fast Chargers (DCFC) qualify for this credit. To be eligible for the first 6% of the EV charging tax credit, all chargers must be installed in a population census tract that is a low-income community or that is not an urban area. To see if your location meets these requirements, you can use Argonne National Laboratory’s 30C Tax Credit Eligibility Locator tool. To reach a total 30% tax credit, installations must also meet US Department of Labor prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements. Businesses claiming the federal EV charging station tax credit should use IRS Form 8911 when filing their business taxes. Note that due to tax credit changes on January 1, 2023, businesses claiming credit for prior years should use the relevant version of Form 8911 for their project.

NEVI Formula Program

The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program is facilitated by the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration and is worth up to 80% of eligible project costs, including:

  • Buying and installing EV chargers;

  • Connecting EV chargers to a network to facilitate data collection, accessibility, and reliability;

  • Proper operation and maintenance of EV charging stations; and,

  • Long-term EV charging station data sharing.

In order to receive NEVI funding, you must install a bank of at least four DCFCs within one mile of an alternative fuel corridor. Blink offers a full turnkey solution for qualifying businesses who would like to become a NEVI charging station host.

State Incentives for EV Charging

In addition to federal incentives, state also offer their own incentives for businesses like truck stops and convenience stores. Visit the Blink Commercial Incentives tool to search by zip code and charging station model.

What are the best EV chargers to install at a truck stop or roadside convenience store?

Drivers stopping to charge in major travel corridors only want to stop for a short time. DC fast chargers are ideal for these locations because they can charge the typical EV in under an hour. EV drivers often choose to only charge their vehicles to 80% before unplugging and driving on, which can further decrease charge times. Locations that may serve plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) should also install at least one Level 2 charging station for compatibility with all EV drivers. [caption id="attachment_9898" align="alignright" width="300"] The Blink 60-360kW DCFC[/caption] For DC fast charging, we recommend the 60kW-360kW DC Fast Charging Station which comes with credit card and RFID readers to accommodate the Blink Mobile App, Blink cards or credit cards. Through the RFID reader, drivers can also pay via Apple Pay and Google Pay. As for Level 2 charging, we recommend the Blink Series 8 which includes a credit card reader and offers up to 80amp and 19.2 kW of electricity. Drivers pay at a Series 8 using credit card, Blink mobile app, Blink RFID card, or pay-by-phone over an automated voice system. Level 2 chargers are especially useful if your business is nearby other entertainment or restaurants that drivers can visit for an hour or more. Beginning in 2024, Blink will offer the North American Charging Standard (NACS) plug, newly standardized as the SAE J3400 connector, as a charging connector option across our product portfolio.

Blink Network

Installing DCFCs or Level 2 chargers from Blink means your business will be added to the Blink Network and the Blink Charging Mobile App With the Blink Network, you have access to your own dashboard that shows you the location of all your chargers and gives you the ability to control every aspect of your chargers. You can:

  • Set different pricing levels for certain times of the day to take advantage of off-peak electricity rates,

  • Create groups of users and charge those groups different prices, and

  • Generate usage and environmental reports that provide you with valuable information.

Businesses selecting a Host-Owned business model have the freedom to set their preferred access and pricing policies on the Blink Network. When it comes to charging money for drivers to charge their vehicles, you can choose from duration-based pricing (charging for the time the vehicle is plugged in), or you can use kilowatt-hour (kWh) pricing (charging for the total amount of energy used). Or you can choose hybrid pricing that utilizes both types. Note that while kWh pricing is recommended for DC fast charging, it is not available in all markets. When selecting your preferred pricing policy, Blink’s account management and implementation teams can help you select the right pricing. Blink’s hybrid pricing option means that you can program your chargers to use kWh energy pricing to charge for the electricity dispensed while charging, and then switch to duration pricing once the battery is full. This encourages drivers to move their vehicles when charging is complete, ensuring parking turnover and freeing up your chargers for other customers.

Conclusion

Federal and state government incentives make it easier for gas stations and convenience stores to install electric vehicle supply equipment and plug into America’s EV charging network. Ready to get started? Contact Blink Charging learn how to access funding and join the nationwide EV charging network.

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