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Inside the CFI Grant Program: Federal Funding for EV Charging in Your Community

Posted 08/03/2023

As the transition to sustainable transportation accelerates, the rapidly growing number of Americans driving EVs are seeking robust and reliable charging stations for their electric vehicles (EVs). To address this challenge, the US federal government’s Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) grant program will play a pivotal role in supporting the development and deployment of EV charging stations and other alternative fueling infrastructure. Here’s what you need to know about the new CFI grant program.

 About CFI

Created by Congress through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in 2021, the CFI Program is a competitive grant program designed to strategically deploy publicly accessible EV charging and alternative fueling infrastructure in urban and rural areas. By targeting both designated Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs) and places where people live and work, this program aims to make modern and sustainable charging and fueling infrastructure readily available to everyone who drives an alternative fuel vehicle such as an EV. With a significant funding commitment of $2.5 billion over five years, the CFI Program provides two funding categories: the Community Charging and Fueling Grants (Community Program) and the Alternative Fuel Corridor Grants (Corridor Program).

CFI vs. NEVI

The CFI program offers competitive grants for projects that complement and expand upon the initiatives of the NEVI program. It recognizes the need to fill charging infrastructure gaps in diverse settings, including:

  • Urban Centers- The CFI program goes beyond the focus of NEVI on alternative fuel corridors (AFCs) by making funding available for charging stations in urban centers like downtown districts. This ensures convenient access to charging infrastructure in densely populated city areas.

  • Rural Areas- The CFI program also extends its reach to less populated rural areas. Doing so helps bridge the charging infrastructure gap in these communities, ensuring that EV owners in rural locations have access to reliable charging stations.

  • Disadvantaged and Low-Income Communities- One of the top priorities of the CFI program is to promote equitable access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure. By focusing on disadvantaged and low-income communities, the program aims to provide opportunities for all Americans to drive and charge EVs.

Additionally, the CFI program will expand EV charging stations and other alternative fuel infrastructure beyond AFCs and into the localities across the country. New alternative fueling stations will be strategically deployed in various places where Americans drive every day, including:

  • Local Parks- Charging stations at local parks enable EV owners to conveniently charge their vehicles while enjoying recreational activities and outdoor spaces.

  • SchoolsInstalling charging infrastructure at schools provides a valuable resource for families and staff who drive EVs and showcases sustainable transportation options to the younger generation.

  • Parking FacilitiesBy incorporating charging stations in public parking facilities, the CFI program enhances accessibility for EV owners, encouraging EV adoption and supporting the convenience of charging while individuals go about their daily routines.

Qualifications for CFI Funding

While the states administer the main NEVI grant program with funds disbursed to businesses, CFI is directly administered by the US Department of Transportation. Eligible applicants for the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Grant Program encompass a diverse range of entities, ensuring broad participation and engagement in the advancement of EV infrastructure. These eligible entities include states or political subdivisions of states, metropolitan planning organizations, units of local governments, special purpose districts, and public authorities with a transportation function, including port authorities. Additionally, federally recognized Indian tribes, U.S. Territories, authorities, agencies, and instrumentalities are also eligible to apply.

Applications for CFI Funding

The CFI Program is a significant commitment to developing charging and fueling infrastructure by making up to $700 million available for this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). The funding allocation consists of $300 million for FY 2022 and $400 million for FY 2023, ensuring substantial financial support for eligible projects. The first round of applications has been submitted and evaluations are currently underway, while details regarding round two will be announced soon. Applicants are advised to vigilantly monitor Grants.gov for any updates related to their submission.

How Blink Helps

Blink is teaming up with municipalities and state governments that have secured CFI funding to enhance charger accessibility in schools, parking facilities, and parks. By working together with local governments pursuing similar initiatives, Blink aims to contribute significantly to creating more sustainable communities with better access to EV chargers.

Blink’s Level 2 chargers support the day-to-day routines of EV owners, ensuring smooth journeys without any inconvenience caused by charging delays. These chargers align perfectly with the accessibility objectives outlined by the CFI grant, allowing Blink and its partners to bridge existing gaps in electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

With the invaluable support of the CFI grant program, combined with strong partnerships from like-minded entities, the vision of EV accessibility can be achieved and enable EV owners to travel with confidence, knowing they have reliable charging solutions wherever they go.

Ready to get started with hosting EV charging stations at your business or community? Click here to register for our September 5 webinar, “Understand the National EV Infrastructure (NEVI) Program.”

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