Commitment to Made in America
Blink stands ready to lead as the nation aims to build out the first-ever national network of 500,000 EV chargers along America’s highways and in our communities. We are well-positioned to help bring this goal to fruition. And with our recently acquired manufacturing facility in Maryland, Blink is able to comply with the mandates of the Made in America program that requires federally funded infrastructure projects to use American-made materials, such as iron, steel, construction materials and manufactured products.
Federal, State, and Local EV Actions
August 21 – Texas Requires NACS Connectors at EV Charging Stations
Texas recently decided to require that all upcoming EV charging stations there should incorporate both the North American Charging Standard (NACS) connectors and the Combined Charging System (CCS) connectors.
August 14 – Build America, Buy America Act Final Ruling
The Biden Administration introduced updated guidelines for the Buy America Act on August 14th, with a focus on strengthening domestic preference provisions. Effective from October 23rd, 2023, these guidelines affect iron/steel products, manufactured goods, and construction materials. They emphasize transparency in federal financial assistance projects, including those funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The updated standards clarify terms like “manufacturing processes” and “manufactured products,” encompassing materials such as fiber optic cable and precast concrete. Products with over 55% iron/steel must comply. A Department of Transportation waiver for Buy America Requirements was issued on August 16th, 2023, refining the waiver scope. While in the near term, the effect on the electric vehicle charging industry will be limited due to FHWA waiver specific to EV chargers, Buy America guidelines for EV charger projects are expected to encourage increased domestic production.
August 14 – Pennsylvania Announced NEVI Awardees
Pennsylvania unveiled the recipients of the NEVI program’s first round of funding. A total of 54 charging stations are set to receive funding under this initiative. Blink Charging secured a key location in Clearfield County to establish a charging station at Kwik Fill in Kylertown, near Exit 133 along I-80.
August 3 – Colorado Announced NEVI Awardees
The Colorado Energy Office allocated $17 million to support 36 locations under its Direct-Current Fast-Charging (DCFC) Plazas initiative, backed by NEVI. It is expected that these charging stations will be operational by the end of 2025.
August 1 – Maine Announced NEVI Awardees
The Maine Department of Transportation, Recharge Maine, and Efficiency Maine revealed over $6 million in NEVI funding distributed across seven different locations. Additionally, five more sites received funds for EV charging under the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan (MJRP). These charging stations are expected to be operational within the next year.
July 13 – Ohio Announced NEVI Awardees
Ohio’s Governor, Mike DeWine, announced that the state would allocate over $18 million from NEVI funds to establish 27 electric vehicle fast charging stations along seven major interstate routes. Private firms would also receive $6 million in addition to the $18 million to oversee installation and operation of these charging stations.
July 12 – City of Cambridge Announces Electric Vehicle Charging Pilot Program
The City of Cambridge launched an Electric Vehicle Charging Pilot Program, allowing EV charging on city sidewalks through applications for an Across Sidewalk Electric Vehicle Charging permit. This program only caters to L1 chargers.
July 11 – Hawaii Announced NEVI Awardees
The Hawaii Department of Transportation has revealed that they will provide 32 chargers, each with a capacity of 150 kW, as part of the NEVI program’s initial funding phase across the islands. Charger installations on Oahu and Maui are projected to be operational by the year’s end, and those on the Big Island and Kauai will follow suit shortly after. The Hawaii DOT is currently in the process of refining its plans for chargers in locations where the existing power infrastructure doesn’t yet meet the NEVI program’s minimum charging capacity requirements.
June 5 – Georgia Alternative Fuel School Bus Grants
The Georgia Department of Education provides funding opportunities for local educational agencies to obtain new school buses powered by electricity, compressed natural gas, or propane. To apply for these grants, school districts must work with a transportation field consultant from the Georgia Department of Education. Grant amounts vary and are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Gas Tax Alternatives
Some states are looking at ways to address a lack of infrastructure funding for roads, bridges, and other infrastructure as gas tax receipts decline from more fuel-efficient ICE vehicles while EV adoption rises. The top three that are often contemplated – a tax on kWh charging, an electric vehicle registration fee, and a fee on vehicle miles traveled – were again prominent in legislative discussions throughout 2023. Some states are moving ahead with these policies while others have focused efforts on pilot programs to better understand the best option moving forward.
EV-Ready Building Codes
For the past few years, EV-ready building codes have been a topic of conversation as national EV adoption increases, although implementation has been slow. Many states have considered requiring multifamily and commercial real estate to be built with the power infrastructure in place for future EV chargers. There is less cost upfront to run the conduit and install the power lines than there is to retrofit buildings in the future. However, extra upfront cost is not attractive to many contractors and owners who may not own or occupy the buildings down the line.
States Doubling Down on EV Infrastructure Funding
With federal funding programs, like the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program and the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program, aimed at enhancing Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure across the country, states are developing plans to use these funds. Some states, like Minnesota, take it a step further showing their commitment to statewide EV adoption. In Minnesota, the state is matching federal NEVI funding with, an additional $13.6 million, to meet their EV infrastructure goals. (The maximum federal funding through the NEVI program is 80%.) Additionally, Minnesota DOT is supplying grants to auto dealers totaling $2 million to offset the cost of installing the infrastructure needed to support EV sales.