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Understanding the Federal Standards for the NEVI Program and Buy America Rules

Posted 03/20/2023

The White House announced the final rules and regulations for states implementing their National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Programs and the Federal Highway Administration published its Buy America standards for EV infrastructure. These announcements impact both charging companies and consumers who will be using EV charging products. Here is a quick summary of what these announcements said and what it means for consumers.

What Are the Final Federal NEVI Standards?

All 50 states have already received their funding from the NEVI Program to implement EV charging infrastructure plans which were approved in 2022. The final standards that were released detail the specifications EV chargers must meet to be eligible for the Program. States must adopt these minimum standards to provide reliable and effective charging to electric vehicle owners. Let's look more closely at some of the new rules and what they mean for charging your vehicle:

Highway Charging Ports

  • Rule: The number of charging ports for DC fast chargers along Alternative Fuel Corridors must include four network-connecting charging ports that can simultaneously charge four electric vehicles.

  • How it affects consumers: When driving along interstate highways, the fast-charging stations available will have four charging connectors to the station. Meaning, if three other people with electric vehicles are charging their cars at these highway stations, you can take the fourth spot and be assured it will charge just as fast as the other three.

Charging Connectors

  • Rule: Each DC fast charger charging port must have at least one permanently attached Combined Charging System (CCS) compliant vehicle charger. Each AC Level 2 charging port must have a J1772 connector permanently attached.

  • How it affects consumers: Charging stations are required to have the standard Combined Charging System connector. This empowers drivers of electric vehicles to feel confident they will be able to plug into any charger without the concern of companies changing cables and ports, like consumers currently experience with computer and phone manufacturers.

Power Level

  • Rule: DC Fast Chargers must support an output of 250v DC and 920v DC with a continuous power delivery rating of at least 150 kilowatt (kW) and supply 150 kW simultaneously from each charging port.

  • How it affects consumers: When charging your car, it will charge just as fast as other charging stations across the country. Having a continuous supply of power also means you can charge anywhere at any time without having to worry about if chargers will be functioning to peak performance.

Payment Methods

  • Rule: Charging stations must provide for secure payment methods, accessible to persons with disabilities, which at a minimum shall include a contactless payment method that accepts major debit and credit cards, and either an automated toll-free phone number or a short message/messaging system (SMS) that provides the EV charging customer with the option to initiate a charging session and submit payment.

  • How it affects consumers: When using a charging station, you will not have to worry if the station accepts only certain forms of payment. The charging station must accept contactless payment methods such as payment from your phone, a standard credit card that taps to the machine, or an app you can connect a payment method to on your phone.

What Are the Buy America Standards for EV Chargers?

When it comes to manufacturing electric vehicle chargers, the Biden Administration outlined that electric vehicle chargers must be manufactured and assembled in the United States to meet Buy America standards. Therefore, charging equipment used for the implementation of state NEVI Programs must meet these requirements per the Federal Highway Administration.

Why does this matter to the average American?

The Buy America standard does two important things:

  1. Creates Jobs: The standard creates jobs in the U.S. by requiring these products to be manufactured domestically. More manufacturing plants will be built around the country to meet the demand, creating thousands of jobs and boosting economic development.

  2. Secures the Supply: Manufacturing these products in the U.S. ensures that the products will be readily available for states to purchase and allows the U.S. to further secure our infrastructure network by reducing dependence on other countries for necessary products.

2022 opened many opportunities for electric vehicles and the infrastructure to support them. 2023 is defining those opportunities and the direction the country will take to implement nationwide. The rules and standards announced this month will ensure that U.S. consumers can make the transition to electric vehicles as seamless as possible while supporting industry development in America using American made products.

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