In the ongoing transition to electric vehicles (EVs), convenience stores and truck stops will continue to be important places for public EV charging. Statista says that in 2022, EV sales in the United States were just under 918,500, which was over 2.5 times more than in 2018. Furthermore, by 2035, EVs are projected to account for 45% of the market, up from a forecast of 32% in 2030. Businesses like convenience stores and truck stops are poised to take advantage of the current increase of EVs by installing public EV charging infrastructure. Here’s what you need to know about the three biggest sources of EV infrastructure funding for c-stores and truck stops.
Federal NEVI and CFI Funding Programs
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) made significant investments in the nation’s infrastructure and energy programs. $5 billion is allocated for the NEVI program, which will be used by the states for the establishment of an interconnected national network of direct current fast chargers (DCFCs) along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors. $2.5 billion is allocated for the CFI program for zero-emission fueling infrastructure in communities and along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors.
National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Program
Each of the 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico was allocated funds to distribute to eligible businesses. Now that the state plans have been approved, NEVI funds are now becoming available to businesses, c-stores, and truck stops.
NEVI funds can be used for EV charging infrastructure:
- network connection,
- maintenance, and
- long-term EV charging station data sharing.
NEVI funding will give preference to AFCs to help the federal government establish a nationwide network of DCFCs every 50 miles along or within 1 mile of the alternative fuel corridors. In addition, funds must be used for the installation of a bank of at least four 150kW DC fast chargers at a given location. Renewable energy generation, energy storage, and upgrades of existing infrastructure also qualify for funding.
Once an individual state’s AFCs meets the requirements for DCFCs, that state may choose to use its NEVI funding for other non-AFC related projects.
Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program
The Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program (CFI Program) is designed to supplement the NEVI program with funds for communities and along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs). While NEVI is distributed by the states to businesses, CFI is distributed by the US Department of Transportation to local and state governments.
CFI offers two different types of grants:
- Community Charging and Fueling Grants (Community Program); and
- Alternative Fuel Corridor Grants (Corridor Program).
Preference for funding via the Community Program will be given to locations within rural areas, low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, and communities that have a low ratio of private parking spaces. Any projects funded under this (or any other government funding) program must meet the EV Charging Minimum Standards Rule.
- Eligible EV projects: Charging of light, medium, and heavy-duty vehicles, charging of public transportation vehicles, commercial charging applications, and infrastructure planning.
- Eligible applicants: State governments, Tribal governments, localities, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and US Territories.
- Eligible funding amounts:
- Projects located in alternative fuel corridors: $1,000,000 – no maximum.
- Projects located in underserved communities: $500,000 – $15,000,000.
- Frequency of grant disbursement: Annual
Grant applications for the CFI Program are handled through the grants.gov portal.
How Blink Supports NEVI
Blink Charging wanted to help NEVI-eligible businesses, so we introduced a turnkey program for locations that qualify for NEVI funding. Blink will guide your business through the NEVI funding process, and if you qualify for funding, we will coordinate your site evaluation, permitting, and electrical contracting.
Blink operates the direct current fast chargers installed as part of the NEVI funding program, and site hosts will receive monthly revenue and reports about the chargers’ usage and sustainability.
Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit
Businesses may be eligible for a federal tax credit of 30% of the cost of installation of EV charging infrastructure up to $100,000.
Businesses must be located in one of three census tracts:
- The census tract is not an urban area;
- The population census tract must have a poverty rate of at least 20%; or
- Metropolitan and non-metropolitan area census tracts where the median family income is less than 80% of the state median family income level.
The initial tax credit will provide a per-station base credit of 6% up to $100,000, up to 30% for businesses that meet prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements.
State and local funding programs
In addition to the federal funding and rebate programs listed above, there may also be state and local government funding available that convenience stores and truck stops can take advantage of. Some programs will pay for make ready infrastructure, which helps businesses future-proof their properties and save money during later expansions, while others exclusively pay for the charging stations themselves.
Please see Blink’s Commercial Incentives tool to search for state and local government funding and rebate programs by entering your zip code.
What are the best EV chargers for convenience stores and truck stops?
If your c-store or truck stop is applying for a NEVI program, you must install DCFCs at your location that are at least 150kW. DCFCs are capable of charging a vehicle in under an hour, making them perfect for locations where drivers will only be spending a short amount of time as they pass through.
For non-NEVI projects, your business has more options. You could consider either DCFCs or less costly public Level 2 chargers, which can charge a vehicle in four to eight hours (depending on the vehicle model). Level 2 chargers are ideal for locations where drivers would be expected to stay for a longer amount of time. In addition, while DCFCs are not compatible with plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, Level 2 chargers can charge all EVs.
Blink has an array of both direct current fast chargers and commercial Level 2 chargers that are capable of accepting payment in a number of different ways from drivers. Any installed Blink charger will be connected to the Blink Network where you will be able to control various aspects of your chargers, like pricing. Drivers will also be able to locate your chargers and nearby amenities via the Blink Charging App, which they can also use for payment.
Installing EV charging infrastructure can be a significant investment, but fortunately there are funding programs in place to help prepare businesses for the ongoing EV transition. The Department of Transportation lists all the eligible EV charging infrastructure funding programs. Commercial outlets located in rural areas or along designated transportation corridors are in especially good positions to potentially receive funding. The US federal government is making a big push to have the entire country outfitted with DCFCs along its alternative fuel corridors. This is an excellent opportunity for convenience stores and truck stops to get EV chargers and future-proof their businesses. Ready to get started? Contact Blink today to request your quote or get help with your funding application.